with Mbappé and new money, French football dreams of heights


Stadiums behind closed doors, matches postponed, failing broadcaster, legal proceedings in shambles, incidents in the stands, finances at half mast, disappointments in European Cups… The scars of past seasons remind us that the clouds are never far above the League 1.

But after three years of crisis, is the thinning finally approaching? French football is dreaming aloud: the 2022-23 season must be that of the « revolution », according to Vincent Labrune, the boss of the Professional Football League (LFP).

 » Super star « 

Any revolution needs a leader. And the L1 has one, more powerful than ever, the insatiable Paris Saint-Germain. The reigning French champion, already hyperactive in the summer transfer window (nearly 100 million euros invested before August), is aiming for an 11th title, an absolute record ahead of the 10 Championships of the illustrious Saint-Etienne, sadly relegated in Ligue 2 like Bordeaux, another big name.

In full overhaul, the Qatar-owned club has given a more French-speaking accent to its professional group, with coach Christophe Galtier and above all the extension of Mbappé until 2025, a masterstroke carried out under the nose and beard of the juggernaut Spanish, Real Madrid, one of the main European rivals of PSG. “To make the Ligue 1 soap opera ever more exciting, we need big stars. Kylian Mbappé is a superstar, ”assured Labrune at the end of May, about the 23-year-old prodigy.

Nationally, who will be able to compete with Paris and its Messi-Neymar-Mbappé trio? No one succeeded last year and the gap still seems huge.

Relentless race for Europe

The race for Europe appears to be very dense. Olympique de Marseille, the runner-up last year, remains a serious candidate, even if the internal turmoil is catching up with it since the sudden departure of coach Jorge Sampaoli, unhappy with OM’s financial ambitions and its replacement by the decried Croatian Igor Tudor.

On the other hand, Lyon has regained its colors with the arrival of American billionaire John Textor, future main shareholder against 600 million euros… Ambitious but deprived of Europe, the club of Jean-Michel Aulas, still in office, will be revengeful. Just like coach Peter Bosz and the former glories Alexandre Lacazette and Corentin Tolisso, repatriated to the Rhône.

What about Nice and its Ineos project, which promises a budget to match European objectives? From Monaco, always eager for nice moves in the transfer window and whose career since January has impressed? From Rennes, more and more regular under the leadership of Bruno Genesio? Even Lille, surprise champion in 2021 who could play the spoilsports? Even Lens and Strasbourg, so attractive in recent months, have their cards to play!

Upheavals

With only two direct places for C1, the fight promises to be fierce, to the delight of the main broadcaster Amazon Prime Video. The platform is launching its second season after having recovered 80% of the lots at a discount last year, not without exceeding Canal +, the historic channel which still holds, reluctantly, two matches per day.

The TV rights file is nevertheless taking a back seat this season, far behind the arrival against 1.5 billion euros of the CVC investment fund, shareholder of the new commercial subsidiary of the LFP up to 13%. The long-awaited deal allows welcome payments to clubs, each team being able to consider at least 33 M EUR over three years, up to the 200 M EUR promised to PSG…

The manna must be used for infrastructure, training, development projects but also for the transfer window. Not to mention security, a big black spot in the last financial year, marked by overflows in the stands in many stadiums.

The new money will do good for second-tier clubs, such as promoted Toulouse, Ajaccio and Auxerre, at the dawn of a season where all anxieties will be allowed. Indeed, Ligue 1 increases to 18 clubs next year and four teams will descend to the second division, against only two climbs.

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