Speaking as part of an exclusive interview with Get French Football News, Amiens President Bernard Joannin detailed the propositions that he has put forward to the French football governing body, the LFP, in order to keep his side in Ligue 1.
They were relegated despite being just 4 points off Nîmes (in safety) with 10 matches of the 2019/20 campaign unplayed.
“I am in permanent dialogue, and I put strong proposals to them. I proposed to have no relegations but to still promote the top two from Ligue 2 – so to have a 22-team league – and to allay financial concerns I took the decision to give up a part of our share of the television broadcast rights. So it really was a fair proposition which, in an exceptional situation caused by COVID-19, would have been a humane, solidarity-led solution, which would have penalised no one financially.”
“To explain the financial aspect: at the moment there are 20 clubs. The new TV rights will give each club an additional €20m each. Amiens’ and Toulouse’s parachute payments come to €20m. So if there are no relegations, €20m is saved. If we and Toulouse give up €10m of those additional TV rights, twice €10m plus the €20m parachute saving comes to €40m [for the two promoted teams]. So Amiens staying up would not have cost anyone a single euro. So there is no financial motivation.”
“The other argument against 22 teams is that it creates four additional matches per team. But as you know, the Coupe de la Ligue has now been phased out, and so those additional matches are covered by the dates on which that competition would have been played. So it becomes clear that no one wanted to show humanity or solidarity. And that is what annoys me. I really regret that.”