As Ligue 1 Conforama gets set to kick off for another campaign on Friday, 9 August, find out all you need to know about the 2019-20 season in France' top flight!
Ligue 1 Conforama is back! With the 2019-20 season beginning on Friday, 9 August 9, we've compiled all the crucial information you need to know before the first ball of the campaign is kicked.
Save the date!
This year Ligue 1 Conforama starts with an opening round scheduled for Friday 9, Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 August. AS Monaco and Olympique Lyonnais will get things going with the first game of the season and the first half of the league season will end with a multiplex on Saturday, 21 December. The 38th and final week of the championship will also be held as a multiplex on Saturday, 23 May, 2020.
> For more information on the Ligue 1 Conforama calendar
Hexagoal: the Ligue 1 Conforama trophy
Designed by the Franco-Argentine artist Pablo Reinoso, who also created the Coupe de la Ligue BKT trophy, the trophy awarded to Ligue 1 Conforama champions represents the combination of two strong symbols: the hexagon (symbolising France) and the all-important ball. Its name, Hexagoal, was chosen by fans in an online poll. This trophy was awarded for the first time on Saturday, 26 May, 2007 on the pitch at the Stade de Gerland Stadium, on the occasion of Olympique Lyonnais' winning a sixth consecutive French title.
The promoted sides
Two promoted clubs have joined Ligue 1 Conforama for this 2019-20 season: FC Metz and Stade Brestois 29. Domino's League 2 champions, les Grenats of Metz - who are about to undertake their 61st season in France's elite - returned to the top flight a year after dropping to the second tier. Meanwhile Brest, back in the top flight thanks to their claiming second place, will be competing for their 14th season at the highest level in France - after a six-year absence.
The race to Europe
Like the French champions, Ligue 1 Conforama's second-placed club also qualifies directly for the group stage of the Champions League. The third-placed side must go through the third qualifying round and then through play-offs to punch their ticket for the group stage. One exception, however, is that if a club that has already qualified for the UEFA Champions League through its league wins the UEFA Europa League, it offers its ticket for the group stage to the third-placed side from Ligue 1 Conforama (currently fifth in the UEFA league index). This has been the case for the last two seasons, both times much to the delight of OL. The country's fourth-placed club qualify directly for the Europa League group stage.
League 1 Conforama relegation and play-offs
Once again this season, the bottom two clubs after Matchday 38 will be relegated to Domino's League 2, while the club in 18th goes into the Ligue 1 Conforama play-offs. There they face the winner of the Domino's League 2 play-offs (the winner of fourth and fifth's sudden-death tie plays third) home and away. The Ligue 1 Conforama play-offs are scheduled for Thursday, 28 and Sunday, 31 May 2020.
Impressive last season, Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappé brilliantly won his first Ligue 1 Conforama top scorer title at the age of 20, scoring 33 goals in 29 games (one goal every 71 minutes). The World Champion, who also earned the UNFP Trophies Player of the Year gong, became the first Frenchman to reach such a total since Philippe Gondet with FC Nantes in 1965-66 (36 goals). The PSG world champion's goal will be to achieve the double this year.
Again this season, the scorers will be confirmed at the end of each round. A goal is awarded to the last player on the team who attacks the ball, even if unintentionally. In the event that the last player to touch the ball belongs to the defending team, the goal is awarded to the shooter if the ball was initially on target.
In the event of a tie in the official ranking of Ligue 1 Conforama scorers, players are ranked according to the number of penalties converted, the number of assists, the number of matches in which the goals were scored, the playing time required to score their goals, the number of points scored by their team and finally the number of cards received. For the past seven seasons, the top scorer has always been a Paris Saint-Germain player (Mbappé, Cavani or Ibrahimovic), with the exception of 2014-15, when Olympique Lyonnais striker Alexandre Lacazette finished in the lead with 27 goals.
Launched during the 2007-08 season, the official classification of Ligue 1 Conforama assist providers was won by Téji Savanier in 2019. The Nîmes Olympique midfielder made 13 decisive passes in 32 games, including ten from set-pieces. Now at Montpellier Hérault SC, he will try to become the first player to top this ranking twice. It should be noted that four OM players have been crowned in this category, which is the record in Ligue 1 Conforama. First Lucho Gonzalez was crowned in 2009-10 and then Mathieu Valbuena in 2012-13, before Dimitri Payet in 2014-15 and Morgan Sanson in 2016-17.
The official Conforama Ligue 1 assists table is updated at the end of each of the 38 rounds. In the event of a tie in the standings, players are separated by the number of assists delivered in open play, the number of matches in which the assists were provide and the number of minutes required to give those assists.
History: the most titles
AS Saint-Etienne, who have won the French championship ten times, remain the most successful club in Ligue 1 Conforama. OM are second, with nine titles to their credit, ahead of FC Nantes, AS Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain (eight). This trio can become a quartet at the end of the season if Olympique Lyonnais, who won their seven titles consecutively in the noughties, win the championship.
On Saturday, 10 August, against Stade de Reims, Olympique de Marseille will kick off their 70th season in Ligue 1 Conforama - a record among the elite. Behind OM are Girondins de Bordeaux and AS Saint-Etienne both of whom will be contesting their 67th season at the highest level of French football. Meanwhile, Paris Saint-Germain, founded relatively recently in 1970, will be competing in their 47th season in Ligue 1 Conforama - a 46th in a row, which is another French championship record.