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football | Why is Ligue 1 no longer one of the five major European leagues?

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Due to the poor performance of Ligue 1 teams on the European stage this season, France has dropped to seventh place in the UEFA rankings.

On March 8, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) was eliminated from the Champions League, losing to Bayern Munich in the round of 16. This was the last French team still in contention in UEFA’s two biggest tournaments. Marseille had already finished last in their Champions League group, and Monaco, Nantes and Rennes had all fallen in the first knockout round of the Europa League. Only Nice managed to reach the quarter-finals of the Europa League conference.

The sad season for Ligue 1 teams on the European scene is reflected in UEFA’s national transactions. For the 2022-2023 season, France is ranked seventh with a score of 12,583. They finished behind Belgium and the Netherlands and just ahead of Portugal.

UEFA uses its coefficients to determine the number of clubs from each country that can participate in its competitions, awarding points based on clubs’ performances in the Champions League, Europa League and Europa League Conference. However, these coefficients can also be taken as a measure of the strongest leagues in Europe.

Many statistics and articles refer to the “big five” European leagues: English Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Serie A. However, according to UEFA standards, Ligue 1 could leave the top five.

France is still ranked fifth in UEFA country coefficients, which is based on the previous five seasons. But with the start of the new Champions League season, the 2018-2019 season is no longer taken into account in these calculations, which means that France falls under the rule of the Netherlands and finds itself in sixth place.

Countries’ fortunes in UEFA competitions can fluctuate greatly from year to year. In the 2019-20 season, Paris Saint-Germain reached the final of the Champions League, while three Italian teams this year reached the quarter-finals, compared to zero in the previous year. But Ligue 1 lags far behind the top four European leagues.

France seems to have a great group of good players. It has more footballers playing outside its borders than any other country except Brazil, and the national team has been the strongest in the world over the past five years.

The exodus of these talents to the Premier League and La Liga partly explains why Ligue 1 has failed to match the performance of the French national team. The most recent national team had only five Ligue 1 players, excluding Kylian MbappeThese players currently have only 21 caps.

PSG is at a different level than the rest of Ligue 1, but other teams are perhaps more equal in terms of strength than teams from other major European leagues.

Monaco, for example, won the league in 2017 and narrowly avoided relegation two years later, before finishing third in the league shortly after. With the frequent rotation of European-qualified teams, it’s hard to match the depth of the squad and the experience of Spain’s key players in Europe, such as Sevilla and Valencia.

UEFA club transactions testify to this. Paris Saint-Germain ranks sixth in Europe, but upcoming French national team Lyon ranks 26thHRennes is the only other French team in the top 50.

UEFA’s low coefficient will do little to change the status of French teams in Europe, with the fifth and sixth teams each earning three Champions League spots. However, the prestige of the French league would suffer.

On the other hand, fans of the mid-table teams in Ligue 1 have at least a good chance of seeing their team play in Europe.

This season, Lens will participate in the Champions League, qualify directly for the group stage of the competition, and the Toulouse club will qualify for the European League. These are 12H and 13H Ligue 1 teams have been playing in Europe since the start of the 2018-19 season, which is more than the number of English Premier League teams that played in Europe during the same period, despite UEFA granting more European places in the Premier League.

Translated article from the American magazine Forbes – Author: Steve Price

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