France 'suspend' League Cup to hand Ligue 1 extra European berth

The French football league (LFP) announced on Wednesday it had voted to "suspend" its League Cup competition from next season.

The tournament, which was founded in 1994 and modelled on the English League Cup, includes all the clubs from France's two top divisions, augmented by a handful of clubs from the third tier.

The winner is rewarded with a spot in the Europa League. That place will now be awarded on the basis of the final Ligue 1 table.

"We have decided to suspend the organisation of the League Cup after the 2019-2020 edition," said an LFP statement.

"This decision allows us to reduce the season schedule which gives players more time to recover and will give an extra European spot, via the Ligue 1 standings for the 2020-2021 season.

"Depending on the market, the LFP reserves the right to relaunch the competition at a later date."

The suspension coincides with the end of the television contract. The LFP could not find a buyer for the television rights from next season. The contract with domestic broadcasters Canal+ and France Television, which ends after this season, was worth 24 millions euros a year.

The LFP will have to mollify Indian tyre group BKT, which last September signed on as title sponsor for six years at an estimated 3 million euros per year.

The draw for the next round of this season's competition will be held on Thursday, with the 14 Ligue 1 clubs not involved in Europe entering the competition. The other six members of the top division will arrive in the next round.

French champions Paris Saint-Germain have won the cup a record eight times. Strasbourg are the current holders. They beat Guingamp on penalties in March.

The move means that among Europe's big five leagues only England will have a League Cup from next season.

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