Ligue 1 Uber Eats is about to undergo a big change in the next two seasons, 2023/24, by reducing the number of contestants from 20 to 18 teams. It was reported by L'Equipe last week that almost the entire clubs in the French top tier competition had reached the agreement at the general assembly. According to LFP (French Professional League), there were 97 percents of the teams agreeing on such decision. Metz was the only team which opposed to the proposal. LFP president, Vincent Labrune, released his statement regarding the vote result.
"It's a very good decision which shows the unity of the players in French football. Above all, it makes it possible to create the conditions for an ambitious reform plan for the future."
The 2023/24 season has been confirmed to be the beginning of the new Ligue 1 era with 18 teams. It means that in the previous season, 2022/23, there will be four teams relegated to the Ligue 2 and replaced by two teams promoted from the second tier. In the following season, the relegation/promotion system shall return to the current one, with two teams at the bottom of the table directly go down while the one sitting on the 16th is facing off the third place of Ligue 2. In the time being, it remains to have 20 teams. However, its adjustment to be made equal with the top flight one regarding the number of teams is also being considered by the LFP.
The idea of running the competition with such number of team is not exactly new. Prior to 2002/03, Ligue 1 did consist of 18 clubs before being expanded in that season. Today, Bundesliga is one of the European major leagues which limits its contestants to 18 with 34 rounds. Some other ones are the Dutch Eredivisie and Liga NOS of Portugal.
FLP's main reason for this overhaul is simply related to the financial crisis in French football since the world pandemic emerged. As all games have been played behind closed doors, the clubs have been struggling with their balance sheet. Furthermore, the failure to seal the €3.25 billion TV broadcast deal with MediaPro recently also had worsened the circumstance. The €325 million deal from Canal Plus was the only available option left for them to go through the season till the end.