When American winger Alejandro Bedoya and his club Nantes kick off their Ligue 1 season on Saturday, the French side is scheduled to host newly-promoted RC Lens in what should be a decent chance at victory to start a campaign.
If Ligue 2’s Sochaux has its way, however, they’ll be waltzing into Nantes as a surprise Ligue 1 side.
Let’s break it down: Sochaux’s 40 points were two shy of top flight survival last season, and Les Lionceaux were condemned to Ligue 2.
Lens was promoted to Ligue 1 after finishing in Ligue 2’s second place last season, but the upgrade came with conditions and the club isn’t meeting these conditions. The season starts this weekend, and Sochaux wants back into the big money top flight.
Lens … was initially banned from joining the top flight on financial grounds. It won an appeal but was barred from signing new players and its main shareholder, Azerbaijani businessman Hafiz Mammadov, was ordered to transfer four million euros ($5.3 million) to the club.
With that sum still missing Tuesday and the new Ligue 1 season starting this weekend, Sochaux says “the fundamental principle of equality has not been respected.” Sochaux wants France’s football federation and the league’s governing body to re-examine the case, adding “in consequence, we demand that Sochaux be reinstated to Ligue 1.”
Lens is playing in various home stadia this season as its home is prepared for Euro 2016, a fact that surely helps Sochaux’s case. But how has it gotten this far? And since it has, is there any way Ligue 1 can back away from Lens?