France's top division will be reduced from 20 to 18 clubs in time for the 2004/05 season.
Too many games
Officials voted for the change at a meeting of the French Professional League (LFP) today. LFP president Frédéric Thiriez said that the current 38-game calendar was "excessive".
Cause and effect
Although the vote was unanimous, four of the 16 members of the LPF board expressed concerns about the effect of the reduction on the second division or Ligue 2, which will have to accommodate two extra clubs.
Two up, four down
The LPF will discuss at a later date how the cull will be made, with the likely solution being to relegate four teams from Ligue 1 next season and promote only two.
The LFP has experimented with an 18-team top flight before. Only last summer, the division reverted back to 20 teams after five seasons with 18 clubs. The league hopes to improve the performance of French sides in European competition by playing fewer domestic games.
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