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Ben Hayes - Charlton Athletic programme

French Ligue 1

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The travails of Lens

RC Lens are facing difficult times.  Such are their problems that they could be expelled from the professional leagues altogether.

Last season they were denied promotion from Ligue 2 to Ligue 1 because of financial irregularities.  The decision was overturned on appeal, but they are having to deal with Ligue 1 with a squad assembled for Ligue 2.   They are also having to play away from their stadium while it is renovated for Euro 2016.

Will fall in oil price hit top clubs?

Will the fall in oil price lead to tightened budgets at top clubs whose owners derive much of their wealth and income from oil?   Among the clubs that could potentially be affected are Chelsea, Manchester City, Paris Saint Germain and Malaga.

Uefa urged not to penalise wealthy benefactors

Uefa have been urged by Manchester City not to penalise wealthy benefactors under their financial fair play (FFP) rules.   The meeting with Uefa president Michel Platini was also attended by Paris Saint Germain who, along with City, have received the heaviest penalties so far under the FFP rules.

'My league's bigger than yours'

Professor Simon Chadwick takes a look at the thorny issue of which is the biggest league in European football.   Although the conclusions are not surprising, the evidence and its appraisal are interesting.

Valenciennes hit financial problems

Ligue 2 club Valenciennes, relegated from Ligue 1 last season after finishing 19th, are facing financial problems. Yesterday Finorpa Group, who specialise in financial aid to companies (including football clubs) in the Calais region, decided not to grant a €1 million subsidy to the club. This is another blow for the club, who have to present their plans to rescue the club’s finances in the coming days to the DNCG.

Salaries for the month of May have not been paid and the total deficit is believed to be in the region of €8m.

Top 30 French Football Clubs Ranked by Average Attendances 2013

A list of the top thirty French football clubs as ordered by average home attendances (domestic league matches only) for season 2012-13.

Paris Saint Germain retained their top spot, averaging 43,235 spectators per match. Lille OSC jumped into second position after moving into a new, 50,000 capacity stadium (Stade Pierre-Mauroy) and achieving an average turnout in Ligue 1 of 40,590 spectators per match. Olympique de Marseille slumped to third with a 33,475 average.

The club owned by a state

Some of the most reflective and in depth football writing today is to be found in the Financial Times.  This is particularly the case when Simon Kuper writes one of his in depth pieces as he did in Saturday's Weekend Magazine that accompanies the Pink 'Un.   He took an in depth look at Paris Saint-Germain.

£130m spend in transfer window

Premier League clubs spent around £130m in the January transfer window, according to analysis by the Sports Business Group at Deloitte. This figure is above the amount spent in January 2013 (£120m), but less than the record level seen in January 2011 (£225m).

Hollande stands firm on tax

French president Francoise Hollande has refused to back down after football clubs asked that they should be let off paying his 75 per cent income tax on salaries above €1m.

After a special meeting with football administrators the president said that the tax would apply for two years to all companies concerned. Opinion polls showed overwhelming opposition to the football clubs' strike call and backing for the tax on millionaire footballers.

Big sponsorship deal for PSG

Paris Saint-Germain have officially announced their sponsorship deal with the Qatar Tourism Authority which will net the Ligue 1 champions up to €200 million a year. Mooted last season, the agreement was publicly confirmed on Tuesday making PSG the first club to be sponsored by a state.

Income from the deal, which will reportedly be retroactively paid back to 2012, is said to increase incrementally year-on-year through to a reported maximum €200m come 2016.