Ligue 1 is considered the highest division in French football. Since its foundation in 1932, it has been called Division 1 and has been considered a professional league from the start. French championships have been held since 1894, but the championship was not officially recognized until 1932. You have to know that football in France only appeared in fourth place on the popularity scale after rugby, boules and cycling until the last third of the 20th century.Therefore, it took a little longer for the professional game operation to start permanently, the French league has been one of the five strongest leagues in Europe for several years now. Top French football is more globalized today, but it has retained some of its French idiosyncrasies. Among other things, country-specific structures, organizational forms and framework conditions have contributed to this, which have shaped football in the roughly 75-year history of the league. Below is our betting bonus comparison in which you will only find reputable betting providers .
Ligue 1 – It started early and half-heartedly
Ligue 1. The first national championships were held in 1894, at that time still limited to Paris. It took around four decades before a league formation taking into account the entire country, a uniform championship and other uniform league classes. Of course, cup competitions and championships were also held during this time. Overall, however, there was great confusion between 1905 and 1919. There were five different organizations, all of which determined their own champions and cup winners. The organizations created an umbrella organization as early as 1908, until all organizations had finally joined, it was written in 1913 – and a year later, the First World War interrupted all efforts to reach an agreement in French football, which only happened in 1919.
However, the road to a professional and nationwide football league was still not clear, as there were violent clashes between opponents and supporters of professional sports, and the global economic crisis did the rest. The professionalization in French football heated the minds not insignificantly. The French national goalkeeper Pierre Chayrigues already switched to Red Star Paris for 500 francs in 1911 and received a monthly salary of 400 francs plus a victory bonus of 50 francs. After international matches, he regularly reported to the football association’s office and received a four-digit amount there, which was declared as medical expenses, loss of earnings or travel expenses.
However, the topic only really got interesting after the First World War, since from 1919 a uniform amateur regulation was introduced for all associations. Until then there were various forms and interpretations on the subject of professional players and amateurs, similar to those in Germany before the introduction of the Bundesliga. Some clubs received support from local companies, some of which operated company sports clubs. In this way, they could offer jobs or direct payments. These included, for example, the Pommery sparkling wine producer in Reims, the casino retail company in St. Etienne and the automobile manufacturer Peugeot in Sochaux.
Ligue 1 – Amateur status has been a blur from the start
Other clubs lured courted players with a livelihood by taking over a small business. In Germany, this used to be the lottery entry point, in France it was a “bar tabac”. Various popular players started marketing their fame early on. For example, the internationals Henri Bard and Eugene Maes promoted the football shoes they wore. For some clubs, it was an open secret that they made direct payments to players back in the 1920s.
The French Football Association naturally found it difficult to prevent the payment of players. As a result, he must have an interest in steering development in an orderly manner and in this way being able to control it. As a result, it was quickly decided to deal aggressively with so-called bogus amateurism.
A single club played the pioneer
With the introduction of a nationwide league operation, FC Souchaux, who had just been founded, provided decisive support. The sponsor of the club donated a trophy in 1930, with the approval of the association, and invited the supposedly strongest teams to a competition that was to be played in league mode. The participants were, next to FC Sochaux
- RC Roubaix
- Olympique Lille
- FC Sete
- Olympique Marseille
- Red Star Paris
- Club Francais Paris
- FC Mulhouse
In 1931 the competition ended with a 6-1 win from Souchaux against Lille. The competition was repeated a year later, with 20 teams already participating. This time it ended in a 4-2 win by FC Mulhouse against Stade Francais Paris. In the meantime, the public echo showed great interest in a top French division.
Ligue 1 – 1932 finally started
As a result, a commission set up by the French Football Association decided in January 1932 the modalities of future professional football in France. With the 1932/33 season, professional football officially started in France. For the first season, 20 clubs received admission, so they are considered founding members of Ligue 1. The league was initially divided into two seasons, although this division was not based on regional considerations. Clubs from all over France played in both seasons. The winners of the two seasons, Olympique Antibes and Olympique Lille, should then play out the first French champions in a final. In the end Lille won against AS Cannes and became the first football champion. Antibes was downgraded
At the end of the season, three teams were relegated from each of the two seasons, but none were added at the same time. Ligue 1 now consisted of only 14 teams and could play in a common group.
Up until the 1938/39 season, the league operations suffered from various teething problems. A second league was introduced in 1933 and a third in 1936, and the game mode was changed again and again. Nevertheless, the number of professional clubs continued to grow, and the French football league also attracted players from a wide variety of countries. In 1933, 13 Austrians, ten English, five Scots, seven Hungarians and five Germans played in France and together improved the quality of football in France. In 1938 this led to the restriction of a maximum number of foreigners entitled to play. From then on, only 2 foreigners were allowed to play for a French club.
Ligue 1 has gained tremendous renown and strength overall since the turn of the millennium and is now one of the most important football leagues worldwide. AS Monaco made it to the final of the Champions League in 2004, Olympique Lyon reached the quarter and round of 16 three times.