Origins of the French League
The first football club ever created in France was Havre Football Club in 1872 and the founders were obviously English. But from 1872 to 1890's, the members played three different codes of football : association football, rugby football and combination (hybrid game from the first two ones). Members decide by votation during the General Meeting on November 18th 1884 to play combination but nobody was satisfied. The same year, the name of the club changed for Havre Athletic Club. The association football code received definitively the members adhesion in 1894. From Le Havre (whose exact name is : Le Havre-du-Val-de-Grâce), the sport spread towards Paris – where some Englishmen created the Paris Football Club with Klempen as the captain in 1879 and dissolved in 1886 - and Northern France – the Football Club d'Amiens in Picardy existed from 1880 to 1882-, from Bordeaux to Southern France, and together then to the rest of France. The few clubs existing unregularly met where they could, often borrowing the playing grounds of more established sports, as most clubs were multi-sports. In fact for some historians, Havre Football Club was the first football code club but not the first soccer club that was the first Paris Football Club that, meanwhile, rugby and association footballs with the same members. The first significant step in the organized sport in France was made on December 29th 1887 by the French-Scottish Eugène de Saint-Clair and the delegates of the Racing Club de France and Stade Français who created the Union des Sociétés Françaises de courses à pied, and in May 1888 by Pierre Fredi – Baron de Coubertin - who created the Comité pour la propagation des exercices physiques dans l'éducation. The two multi-sports organizations merged together soon and the players of the different codes of football resolved themselves into an autonomous section on November 29th 1890 with Coubertin, Saint-Clair, C. Heywood and E. Saint-Chaffray. The first members were from Paris and it was not before the mid-1890's that clubs from the rest of France started to join. One of the founding articles of the U.S.F.S.A. mentioned the organization of a regular football tournament under the rule of the Union. Meanwhile the U.S.F.S.A. preferred to help growing rugby football because of the professionalization of the association football in the United Kingdom. The first national championship in team sports in France was the high schools rugby football championship in 1891. The rugby football championship for civil clubs is created in 1892. With such an inaction for the association football, the Parisian clubs menaced to start a league . So, in 1894, it was decided to hold a "championship" among the volunteering football clubs of the U.S.F.S.A. Of course, it more looked like a championship of Paris rather than a French championship, but it was the first attempt to organize the game in France. What is more, the best teams of the country, except Havre Athletic Club, were from Paris. The first tournament in 1894 gathered six teams under a cup system and the first winner was Standard Athletic Club defeating The White Rovers 2-2 and 2-0 in the replay. The event again took place in 1895 with eight teams and still with a cup system. The final yielded the same result, Standard A.C. winning to The White Rovers 3-1. The teams' English names remind that every two player was actually British until 1897 or 1898. Then, football became better known and truly French clubs started to develop. A few tournaments reserved to teams fielding French players only also helped a lot. Meanwhile in the rest of France, the game spread on, with unregular little tournaments blossoming in various regions. In 1896 the U.S.F.S.A. Championship changed its format to become a true league with 9 clubs. In 1896 and 1897, the matches were played on neutral grounds, but from 1898 the home-and-away basis was adopted, along with three "series" corresponding to three divisions. It isn't known very well in France that a professional federation – Fédération des Sociétés Athlétiques Professionnelles de France - existed and created a professional association football championship from 1896/97 to 1906/07. The competition was popular but the forerunners of the Fédération Française de Football Association decided to hide and forget this important fact. Even the French historians didn't look into this professional period. Another important step was in 1899: in order to make the U.S.F.S.A. competition more look like a French Championship, it was decided that the winner of the Paris tournament would meet the winner of a tournament organized among teams from the rest of France. Two regions, Normandy and the North, accepted the idea. Havre Athletic Club Football Association and Iris Club Lillois – North champion - should have met in Paris, but the ground was occupied by a hockey match... So the game was postponed. Unfortunatly, the players from Lille could not manage to come to Amiens to play the rescheduled match and Havre A.C. had a walk-over to the final versus Club Français (champion of Paris). Club Français refused to meet Havre A.C. for several – dubious - reasons, among others that they had not played a single match to reach the final - because of the Normandy championship wasn't created yet- and the trophy rules made clear the James Gordon Bennett Trophy could not go out of Paris (sic)... Eventually, the U.S.F.S.A. decided to award the title to Havre A.C., which thus won without playing a game ! The following years were less controversial with a proper championship being organized for the clubs from Normandy and the North and a final versus the champion of Paris. In 1903, numerous regional championships were acknowledged by the U.S.F.S.A., so that 7 regional champions (including the champion of Paris) took part in the final tournament held to designate the champion of France. In 1904, the number rose to 13 finalists. Meanwhile, in 1898, another multi-sports federation had been created, the Union des Sociétés et d'Instruction Militaire des Patronages et Œuvres de Jeunesse de France (U.S.G.I.M.P.O.J.F.), which changed name in 1901 to Fédération des Sociétés Catholiques de Gymnastique (F.S.C.G) and in 1903 to Fédération Gymnastique et Sportive des Patronages de France (F.G.S.P.F.). So France had two amateur football sections in the two federations. The U.S.F.S.A. had more members, meanwhile the relationships between the two organizations were good. They were even about to sign an agreement, when the U.S.F.S.A., making a pretext of the friendly match between the two amateur champions on May 28th 1905, suddenly broke ties from the F.G.S.P.F. The U.S.F.S.A. (wrongly) pretended that F.G.S.P.F. players were false amateurs and forbade to its member clubs to play any match against a F.G.S.P.F. team or even to give them access to their pitches. The actual reason for this aggressiveness was political: most clubs of the F.G.S.P.F. were "patronages", i.e. youth organizations ruled by the Catholic Church. The law proclaiming the separation of State from Church was precisely passed in December 1905 and effective in the beginning of 1906. The U.S.F.S.A., expecting government subsidies, considered it necessary to break from the F.G.S.P.F. But the F.G.S.P.F. lead by Charles Simon and Henri Delaunay carried on its task of diffusing football within France and they created their own championship in 1905. Another multi-sport organization, the Fédération Cycliste et Amateur de France (F.C.A.F.) – dissidence from the Union Vélocipédique de France founded in 1880 and renamed Fédération Française de Cyclisme in 1932 -, started their championship in 1906. On March 23rd 1907, considering the persisting aggressive attitude of the U.S.F.S.A., the F.G.S.P.F. saw no other solution than regrouping with the other independent federations in a national confederation dedicated to sport but specially to football : the Comité Français Interfédéral (C.F.I.) whose first president is Charles Simon. 490 sport societies – whose several ones don't play football in fact - are the members of the new entity that unified the F.G.S.P.F., the F.C.A.F., the Fédération Athlétique Amateur (F.A.A.), the Fédération Cycliste et Athlétique de Lyon et du Sud-Est (F.C.A.L.S.E.) and the Fédération Athlétique du Sud- Ouest (F.A.S.O.) together. The main competition of the C.F.I., which started in 1907 too, was called the "Trophée de France". It was a final tournament among the champions of the member federations of the C.F.I. The Trophée de France thus became the main "French Championship", somehow replacing the isolationist U.S.F.S.A. tournament. Subsequently, things went wrong for the U.S.F.S.A. policy. In 1908 they had to leave the F.I.F.A. and were replaced there by the C.F.I. on May 18th 1910. On August 27th 1910, four Parisian clubs – Cercle Athlétique de Paris, Red Star Amical Club, Union Sportive Suisse et Paris Star -, tired by the despising attitude of U.S.F.S.A. towards football, decided to found their own federation, the Ligue de Football Association (L.F.A.) and to join the C.F.I. Eventually, U.S.F.S.A. alsodecided to join the C.F.I. on December 31st 1912. So French football was officially unified on January 5th 1913 just before World War I broke out. During the war, the Trophée de France could not be held as the regular championships were cancelled, but C.F.I. organized a so-called "Coupe de France" in 1916 between the offical winners from the different federations that created several competitions . On January 15th 1917, the C.F.I. launched the Coupe Charles-Simon, opened to all French clubs, which was to become the true Coupe de France. On April 7th 1919, the C.F.I. decided to change status and became the Féderation Française de Football Association (F.F.F.A.). It was no longer a confederation of various organizations, but a proper federation with 15 regional championships and a national competition: the Coupe de France. The French Cup became so popular (several hundreds of entrants each year, thousands of spectators) that the Federation became aware of the need of a national championship. Founded in 1926, the Championnat de France Amateur (C.F.A.), i.e. the Amateur French Championship, concerned the 15 regional champions. But it was organized in a ludicrous way: three categories of regions were identified according to their number of teams still qualified in 1/32 finals of the French Cup. The champions of the five first regions played in the Division d'Excellence, the five following ones in the Division d'Honneur and the five bottom in the Division de Promotion. Attempts to improve the system were made in the following years (like suppressing the Division de Promotion), but the C.F.A. stopped in 1929 after its third season. The rising issue around 1930 was the status of the players i.e. the path to professionalism. In 1930, F.C. Sochaux-Montbéliard, one of the leading clubs, backed by car manufacturer Peugeot, proposed to organize a competition among the top French teams. All these clubs had an unofficial semi-professional status. Thus, eight teams entered the first Coupe Sochaux (Challenge Peugeot) played on a League basis with a final which F.C. Sochaux- Montbéliard duly won. The following year, 20 clubs took part in the event, divided into two groups of 10, with a final between the first ranked of each group. This was to be the last Coupe Sochaux as professionalism was adopted on January 7th 1932 and a Professional French League was set up in 1932/33. The format of the first French League was the same as for the second Coupe Sochaux edition (2 groups of 10 with the winners meeting in final), but a full League system was adopted for 1933/34 with 14 clubs in Division 1 and 15 in Division 2. The Amateur French Championship (C.F.A.) was resumed in 1934/35 and held the role of a third division. The number of teams in Division 1 (Ligue 1) went up to 16 before World War II, 18 after it, and 20 from the sixties. In 1939/40, the teams volunteering to enter the League were split into three regionals groups. The South-West winner met the South-East winner and the newly South champion should have met the North champion , but the final could not take place as the Germans had already invaded France. During the occupation period, two regional championships were held (in the North in the "occupied zone" and in the South in the "free zone"). During two seasons (1940/41 and 1941/42), the teams from the "forbiden zone" (Lens, Lille, Roubaix, Sochaux, Tourcoing, Valenciennes) had to stop professionalism and played a regional championship. They could re-enter the League after that. On June 15th 1943 the Commissaire aux Sports of French (Vichy) government, Colonel Pascot - decided to take advantage of allegations of bribery in the French Cup final - dissolved all professional clubs and replaced them in July 17th by 16 regional teams (named after the main city and the region). These 16 teams entered the newly named Federal Championship and the Cup in 1943/44. Actually, the championship could hardly be finished as France was being liberated. After Liberation, a League was quickly set up for 1944/45 with 2 groups of 12 and a final between the two winners. The professional French League normally resumed in 1945/46. In 1969 the F.G.S.P.F. is renamed Fédération Culturelle de France and affiliated to the F.F.F. In 1971/72, the C.F.A. was replaced by Division 3 (6 groups of 16) and Division 4 (8 groups of 14) was created in 1978/79. This system lived on until 1992-1993. Division 2, then divided up into 2 groups of 18, was transformed in a unique group and the current organization was initiated in 1992/93 with National 1, National 2 and National 3 (3rd, 4th and 5th levels) that changed for National, Championnat de France Amateur (CFA) and Championnat de France Amateur 2 (CFA2) in 1997/98.
Yearwise list of the champions of France
F.G.S.P.F. - Additional Information 1894 Standard Athletic Club 1895 Standard Athletic Club 1896 Club Français 1896/97 Standard Athletic Club (U.S.F.S.A.) Union des Sports de France (F.S.A.P.F.) 1897/98 Standard Athletic Club (U.S.F.S.A.) Union des Sports de France (F.S.A.P.F.) 1898/99 Havre Athletic Club Football Association (U.S.F.S.A.) Union des Sports de France (F.S.A.P.F.) 1899/00 Havre Athletic Club Football Association (U.S.F.S.A.) Club Athlétique Parisien (F.S.A.P.F.) 1900/01 Standard Athletic Club (U.S.F.S.A.) Club Athlétique Parisien (F.S.A.P.F.) 1901/02 Racing Club de Roubaix (U.S.F.S.A.) Union Sportive Batignolaise (F.S.A.P.F.) 1902/03 Racing Club de Roubaix (U.S.F.S.A.) Union Sportive Batignolaise (F.S.A.P.F.) 1903/04 Racing Club de Roubaix (U.S.F.S.A.) Union Sportive Batignolaise (F.S.A.P.F.) 1904/05 Gallia Club (U.S.F.S.A.) Étoile des Deux Lacs (F.G.S.P.F.) Union Sportive Batignolaise (F.S.P.F.) 1905/06 Racing Club de Roubaix (U.S.F.S.A.) Étoile des Deux Lacs (F.G.S.P.F.) Société Municipale de Puteaux (F.C.A.F.) Club Athlétique du Sud (F.S.A.P.F.) 1906/07 Racing Club de France (U.S.F.S.A.) Étoile des Deux Lacs (C.F.I.) Club Athlétique du Sud (F.S.A.P.F.) 1907/08 Patronage Olier (C.F.I.) Racing Club de Roubaix (U.S.F.S.A.) 1908/09 Jeanne d'Arc de Saint-Ouen (C.F.I.) Stade Helvétique de Marseille (U.S.F.S.A.) 1909/10 Cercle Athlétique de Vitry (C.F.I.) Union Sportive Tourquennoise (U.S.F.S.A.) 1910/11 Cercle Athlétique de Paris (C.F.I.) Stade Helvétique de Marseille (U.S.F.S.A.) 1911/12 Étoile des Deux Lacs (C.F.I.) Stade Raphaëlois (U.S.F.S.A.) 1912/13 Cercle Athlétique de Paris 1913/14 Olympique Lillois F.G.S.P.F. - Additional Information Coupe de France 1915/16 Olympique de Pantin Regional Champions of Division d'Honneur 1919-1932 link to separate file C.F.A. 1926-27 Division d'Excellence: Cercle Athlétique de Paris [Division d'Honneur: Football Club de Valentigney] [Division Promotion: Association Sportive du Centre (Tours)] 1927-28 Division d'Excellence: Stade Français (Paris) [Division d'Honneur: Football Club de Mulhouse] 1928-29 Division d'Excellence: Olympique de Marseille [Division d'Honneur: Union Sportive Cazérienne (Cazères)] Coupe Sochaux (Challenge Peugeot) 1930-31 Football Club de Sochaux-Montbéliard 1931-32 Football Club de Mulhouse League Champions Pl W D L GF-GA Pts 1932/33 # Olympique Lillois 18 14 0 4 41-23 28 1933/34 D Football Club de Sète 26 14 6 6 69-52 34 1934/35 Football Club de Sochaux-Montbéliard 30 22 4 4 94-36 48 1935/36 D Racing Club de Paris 30 20 4 6 81-45 44 1936/37 Olympique de Marseille 30 17 4 9 69-39 38 1937/38 Football Club de Sochaux-Montbéliard 30 18 8 4 69-26 44 1938/39 Football Club de Sète 30 19 4 7 65-36 42 War Champions 1939/40 * Football Club Rouen (North), Girondins A.S.P. (South) 1940/41 Red Star Olympique Audonien (North), Olympique de Marseille (South) 1941/42 Stade de Reims (North), Football Club de Sète (South) 1942/43 Racing Club de Lens (North), Toulouse Football Club (South) 1943/44 Lens-Artois (Federal teams Championship partly unfinished) 1944/45** Football Club de Rouen 1944-45 Rouen (North), Lyon (South); Final: Rouen 4-0 Lyon (June 17, 1945) League Champions (resumed) 1945/46 D Lille Olympique Sporting Club 34 19 7 8 89-44 45 1946/47 Club Olympique de Roubaix-Tourcoing 38 24 5 9 71-47 53 1947/48 Olympique de Marseille 34 20 8 6 83-43 48 1948/49 Stade de Reims 34 22 4 8 90-54 48 1949/50 Girondins A.S.P. de Bordeaux 34 21 9 4 88-40 51 1950/51 Olympique Gymnaste Club de Nice 34 18 5 11 73-46 41 1951/52 D Olympique Gymnaste Club de Nice 34 21 4 9 65-42 46 1952/53 Stade de Reims 34 22 4 8 86-36 48 1953/54 Lille Olympique Sporting Club 34 17 13 4 49-22 47 1954/55 Stade de Reims 34 19 6 9 78-53 44 1955/56 Olympique Gymnaste Club de Nice 34 18 7 9 60-43 43 1956/57 Association Sportive de Saint-Étienne 34 20 9 5 88-45 49 1957/58 D Stade de Reims 34 22 4 8 89-42 48 1958/59 Olympique Gymnaste Club de Nice 38 24 8 6 80-38 56 1959/60 Stade de Reims 38 26 8 4 109-46 60 1960/61 Association Sportive de Monaco 38 26 5 7 77-42 57 1961/62 Stade de Reims 38 21 6 11 83-60 48 1962/63 D Association Sportive de Monaco 38 20 10 8 77-44 50 1963/64 Association Sportive de Saint-Étienne 34 18 8 8 71-47 44 1964/65 Football Club de Nantes 34 16 11 7 66-45 43 1965/66 Football Club de Nantes 38 26 8 4 84-36 60 1966/67 Association Sportive de Saint-Étienne 38 24 6 8 82-37 54 1967/68 T Association Sportive de Saint-Étienne 38 24 9 5 78-30 57 1968/69 Association Sportive de Saint-Étienne 34 24 5 5 70-26 53 1969/70 T Association Sportive de Saint-Étienne 34 25 6 3 88-30 56 1970/71 Olympique de Marseille 38 23 9 6 94-48 55 1971/72 T Olympique de Marseille 38 24 8 6 78-37 56 1972/73 Football Club de Nantes 38 23 9 6 67-31 55 1973/74 D Association Sportive de Saint-Étienne 38 23 9 6 74-40 66 (11 bonus points) 1974/75 D Association Sportive de Saint-Étienne 38 23 6 9 70-30 58 (6 bonus points) 1975/76 Association Sportive de Saint-Étienne 38 18 15 5 68-39 57 (6 bonus points) 1976/77 Football Club de Nantes 38 25 8 5 80-40 58 1977/78 Association Sportive de Monaco 38 22 9 7 79-46 53 1978/79 Racing Club de Strasbourg 38 22 12 4 68-28 56 1979/80 Football Club de Nantes 38 26 5 7 76-30 57 1980/81 Association Sportive de Saint-Étienne 38 23 11 4 68-26 57 1981/82 Association Sportive de Monaco 38 24 7 7 70-29 55 1982/83 Football Club de Nantes 38 24 10 4 77-29 58 1983/84 Girondins de Bordeaux F.C. 38 23 8 7 72-33 54 1984/85 Girondins de Bordeaux F.C. 38 25 9 4 70-27 59 1985/86 Paris Saint-Germain Football Club 38 23 10 5 66-33 56 1986/87 T Girondins de Bordeaux F.C. 38 20 13 5 57-27 53 1987/88 Association Sportive de Monaco 38 20 12 6 53-29 52 1988/89 D Olympique de Marseille 38 20 13 5 56-35 73 1989/90 Olympique de Marseille 38 22 9 7 75-34 53 1990/91 Olympique de Marseille 38 22 11 5 67-28 55 1991/92 Olympique de Marseille 38 23 12 3 67-21 58 1992/93 title not awarded (see below) 1993/94 Paris Saint-Germain Football Club 38 24 11 3 54-22 59 1994/95 Football Club de Nantes 38 21 16 1 71-34 79 1995/96 D Association de la Jeunesse Auxerroise 38 22 6 10 66-30 72 1996/97 Association Sportive de Monaco 38 23 10 5 69-30 79 1997/98 Racing Club de Lens 34 21 5 8 55-30 58 1998/99 Girondins de Bordeaux F.C. 34 22 6 6 66-29 72 1999/00 Association Sportive de Monaco 34 20 5 9 69-38 65 2000/01 Football Club de Nantes 34 21 5 8 58-36 68 2001/02 Olympique de Lyon 34 20 6 8 62-32 66 2002/03 Olympique de Lyon 38 19 11 8 63-41 68 2003/04 Olympique de Lyon 38 24 7 7 64-26 79 2004/05 Olympique de Lyon 38 22 13 3 56-22 79 2005/06 Olympique de Lyon 38 25 9 4 73-31 84 2006/07 Olympique de Lyon 38 24 9 5 64-27 81 2007/08 D Olympique de Lyon 38 24 7 7 74-37 79 2008/09 Girondins de Bordeaux F.C. 38 24 8 6 64-34 80 2009/10 Olympique de Marseille 38 23 9 6 69-36 78 2010/11 D Lille Olympique Sporting Club 38 21 13 4 68-36 76 2011/12 Montpellier H.S.C. 38 25 7 6 68-34 82 2012/13 Paris Saint-Germain Football Club 38 25 8 5 69-23 83 2013/14 Paris Saint-Germain Football Club 38 27 8 3 84-23 89 2014/15 Q Paris Saint-Germain Football Club 38 24 11 3 83-36 83 2015/16 Q Paris Saint-Germain Football Club 38 30 6 2 102-19 96 2016/17 Association Sportive de Monaco 38 30 5 3 107-31 95 2017/18 Paris Saint-Germain Football Club # : the records of Olympique Lillois in 1932-1933 do not include the League championship final on May 14th 1933 : Olympique Lillois 4-3 Association Sportive de Cannes (after extra-time) D : season when the champion achieved a "double" (League + National Cup). T : season when the champion achieved a "triple" (League + National Cup + Challenge des Champions or Super Cup). Since 1995, a "triple" would concern the League + National Cup + League Cup. Q : season when the champion achieved a "quadruple" (League + National Cup + League Cup + Trophée des Champions). * : South Zone Final : Girondins A.S.P. (South-West) 3–0 Olympique Gymnaste Club de Nice (South-East) The final between North and South Zones champions, which was planned, could not be held because of the German invasion. **: League Championship Final, on June 17th 1945 at Colombes stadium : Football Club de Rouen (North) 4–0 Lyon Olympique Universitaire (South) (the football section of Lyon Olympique Universitaire left the club in May 1950 to become professional and was named Olympique Lyonnais). Note on different Lille clubs : Olympique Lillois and Iris Club Lillois merged into Olympique Iris Club Lillois in 1941, which in turn merged with Sporting Club de Fives into Lille Olympique Sporting Club in 1944. Note on the different Parisian Racing Clubs : The Racing Club de France is an amateur club, so when French football chose a truly professional way in 1932, the football section of the Parisan club changed the name to Racing Club de Paris. However, a clear affiliation has always existed between the two Racing Clubs. Note on 1992/93 : Olympique de Marseille technically won the League, but their title was withdrawn when it appeared the May 20th match versus the low-ranked U.S. Valenciennes-Anzin had been fixed (six days before Olympique's U.E.F.A. Champions' League title). Consequently, third ranked A.S. Monaco was designated to play in the U.E.F.A. Champions' League because second ranked Paris Saint-Germain F.C. declined as Cup winner. Milan A.C. replaced Olympique de Marseille in the Toyota Cup and European Super Cup. After further investigations, Olmpique de Marseille were demoted to Division 2 for the 1994/95 season.
Number of Titles (79)
NB: only includes professional league championships. There are various ways to add championships before 1932 and/or war-time titles, depending on which championships one decides to recognise as 'official'. It may be noted here that FIFA recognised U.S.F.S.A. (1904-07) and C.F.I. (1908-12) as the unique French representative federation. Nevertheless, these titles are not added here. 10 Association Sportive de Saint-Étienne 9 Olympique de Marseille 8 Football Club de Nantes Association Sportive de Monaco 7 Olympique de Lyon Football Club de Paris Saint-Germain 6 Stade de Reims Girondins de Bordeaux 4 Olympique Gymnaste Club de Nice 3 Lille Olympique Sporting Club 2 Football Club de Sochaux-Montbéliard Football Club de Sète 1 Olympique Lillois Montpellier Hérault Sport Club Racing Club de Paris Club Olympique de Roubaix-Tourcoing Racing Club de Strasbourg Association de la Jeunesse Auxerroise Racing Club de Lens League-and-Cup doubles 4 Association Sportive de Saint-Étienne 2 Lille Olympique Sporting Club Olympique de Marseille Football Club de Paris Saint-Germain 1 Football Club de Sète Racing Club de Paris Association Sportive de Monaco Olympique Gymnaste Club de Nice Stade de Reims Girondins de Bordeaux Football Club Association de la Jeunesse Auxerroise Olympique de Lyon Triples (League, Cup and Super Cup) 2 Association Sportive de Saint-Étienne Football Club de Paris Saint-Germain 1 Olympique de Marseille Girondins de Bordeaux Football Club
Current structure of the French Championships
At the top of French football is of course the professional French League, which includes Ligue 1 (L1) and Ligue 2 (L2). The teams in these top two levels are fully professional. They also take part in the League Cup, called "Coupe de la Ligue". Note that "Ligue" (with a capital L) is the association of all the professional clubs. It is the body that rules and organizes L1 and L2 competitions. Below the French League are three national levels: National, CFA, CFA 2. After the national levels come the regional levels. There are 22 regions in mainland France, plus 9 regions for the Overseas Territories (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyane, Reunion, Nouvelle-Calédonie, Polynésie, Wallis-et-Futuna, St-Pierre-et-Miquelon, Mayotte). Each region is called a "ligue". Note this is also the name of the ruling body of each region. Each ligue championship includes 3 regionally organized levels. Level 1 is called Division d'Honneur (DH). Depending on the regions, level 2 is called either Promotion d'Honneur (PH) or Division d'Honneur Régional (DHR). Eventually, level 3 may be called Promotion de Ligue (PL), Promotion d'Honneur (PH) or Division Régionale (DR). The usual combinations are DH-PH-PL or DH-DHR-PH. The winner of each DH in mainland France is promoted to CFA 2.
Vélo, L'Auto, L'Équipe (sport papers), La Petite Gironde (Bordeaux, local newspaper), Books : Ch. Goudoin and Jordan, Le Football, Paris, Éditions Pierre Lafitte et Compagnie, 1910. P. Delaunay, J. de Ryswick, J. Cornu and D. Vermand, 100 ans de football en France, Paris, Éditions Atlas. Dictionnaire historique des clubs de football français, Tome 1 : Abbeville - Montpellier, Paris, éditions Pages de Foot, May 1999, 254 pages Dictionnaire historique des clubs de football français, Tome 2 : Mulhouse – White Rovers, Paris, éditions Pages de Foot, November 1999, 251 pages. Ph-D (thesis) : Jean-Pierre Bodis, Rugby, politique et société dans le monde, des origines du jeu à nos jours (1972) : étude comparée, Tomes 1 à 6, Bibliothèque de l'Université de Toulouse-Le Mirail, 1986, 2 439 typed pages. Universitary works : Jean-Paul Callède, Histoire du sport en France, du Stade Bordelais au SBUC 1889-1939, Talence, Maison des sciences de l'homme d'Aquitaine, 1993, 211 pages. Alfred Wahl, Archives du football, sport et société en France (1880-1980), Paris, Gallimard-Julliard, collection « Archives », 1989, 354 pages. Conference : Jean-Louis Gay-Lescot, « Léo Lagrange et Jean Borotra, convergence et divergence de deux politiques sportives (1936-1942) », pages 241 to 253 in Jeux et Sports dans l'histoire, Tome 1, Associations et politiques, Paris, éditions Comité des Travaux Historiques et Scientifiques, Ministère de l'Éducation Nationale et de la Culture, Actes du 116e congrès national des sociétés savantes (Chambéry 1991), 1992.
Prepared and maintained by François Mazet and Frédéric Pauron for the Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation
Authors: François Mazet and Frédéric Pauron
Last updated: 19 Apr 2018
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Frédéric Pauron and RSSSF 1995/2018
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