French Football Leagues

French Football Leagues

French football, like most of the European countries, is made up of several leagues. They use relegation and promotion to move up and down between the various tiers.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

French Football Structure

The first division in French football is  Ligue 1. It is made up of 20 teams, and can have three relegations per season in which the affected teams move down to Ligue 2. 

Ligue 2 is the second-level of French football. It also contains 20 teams and offers both three promotions and three relegations.

These two leagues are considered the Professional leagues in France. 

Following Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 are a series of divisions that are governed by the FFF (French Football Federation). The governing body for French football is the French Football Federation (FFF).  The  offices are located in Paris, and it started in 1919. 

The third tier of French football is the National League. The National League contains 18 teams, out of which three can get promoted to Ligue 2.

Semi-Pro/Amateur Football

Players in France who do not start in their Academy system are sometimes able to make their way through the semi-pro football leagues or at other noteworthy sporting events where coaches and scouts may see players.

  • The University of Lyon organizes a knockout competition of 48 university teams.
  • The Lille College organizes a knockout competition of 32 college teams that span a week. On the finals day, coaches may come to scout any talent they may find of interest 

Almost 15% of the French footballers have connected with their clubs via these semi-pro/amateur football competitions.

National v. Foreign Players

Many French national players come through their  clubs. In the 2016/17 season, AS Monaco had a group of academy talents who won the Ligue 1 and reached the Champions League's semi-finals.

Kylian Mbappe is one of the hottest national prospects in Ligue 1. Another french talent, Paul Pogba came through the ranks of an English club, Manchester United.

Neymar da Silva Santos Junior or Neymar as he is  known, is one of the biggest foreign talents in France. The Brazilian superstar enjoys his life at PSG, making the Ligue 1 champions reach their first-ever Champions League final. However, compared to other leagues, the rate of successful foreign players is less in France than in others.

Youth Programs

AS Monaco, Olympique Lyon, and Paris Saint Germain are considered some of the best French academies.

They have amazing coaches and they groom the youth players right from the start, to help them achieve their potential

French Football has an exceptional pool of talent right now that is sure to dominate world football in the coming years.