Bordeaux have been cleared to remain in Ligue 2 just three days before they are due to start the season.

The club were facing the prospect of dropping into the third tier of French football due to financial irregularities.

Les Girondins were relegated after finishing bottom of Ligue 1 last season and were last month told they would be in the Championnat National for the 2022-23 campaign following a DNCG (National Directorate of Management Control) investigation of their finances.

The six-time champions of France, who reportedly have debts close to €40million, immediately announced their intention to appeal, but the French Football Federation (FFF) confirmed their sanctions will stand this month.

There was good news for Bordeaux on Wednesday, though, when they discovered they will not face a further demotion after demonstrating the "current and future financial robustness" of the club.

A statement on the club's official website said: "Today, the executive committee of the French Football Federation (FFF) held a special meeting to approve the recommendations of the National Olympic and Sporting Committee (CNOSF) issued on 25 July, thus definitively confirming that FC Girondins de Bordeaux will be able to play in Ligue 2 this season.

"Following the lead of the Commercial Court and the CNOSF, the FFF has now formally acknowledged the current and future financial robustness of our club, and the fact that we are more than adequately prepared to play in Ligue 2 this season, in full compliance with the relevant sporting regulations."

Bordeaux are scheduled to face Valenciennes in their first game of the Ligue 2 on Saturday, but it remains to be seen if the fixture will go ahead.

Bordeaux's relegation to the third tier of French football has been confirmed by the DNCG (National Directorate of Management Control), who have dismissed the club's appeal against their demotion.

Bordeaux – who have won Ligue 1 on six occasions, finished bottom of the top flight last season and were preparing for a first second-tier campaign since the early 1990s, only to be handed a further demotion to the Championnat National last month following a DNCG examination of their finances.

The club, who reportedly have debts close to €40million, immediately announced their intention to appeal, but the French Football Federation (FFF) confirmed their sanctions will stand on Tuesday.  

Gerard Lopez, the owner of the 2009 Ligue 1 champions, said the financial implications of a relegation below Ligue 2 would be "catastrophic" last month, adding: "With its structure and costs, this club cannot exist in National 1."

Lopez also warned the club would risk having to file for bankruptcy, which could lead to a further demotion to below France's professional football pyramid, in the event of losing their appeal.

Bordeaux could reportedly still appeal to the French Olympic Committee or look to have the decision suspended, but are nevertheless set to conduct a fire sale of first-team players in the transfer window.

Saint-Etienne will start life in Ligue 2 with a three-point deduction for the crowd trouble that followed their relegation from the French top flight. 

The 5-4 penalty shootout defeat to Auxerre in May was followed by ugly scenes, with supporters clashing with police and security staff after storming the pitch and targeting players. 

The Ligue de Football Professionnel announced on Thursday that the club had been handed a six-point deduction, though three were suspended. 

Saint-Etienne will also play their first four home games of the season at an empty Stade Geoffroy-Guichard after two of the six-match ban they received were suspended. 

The club said in a statement: "Given the nature of the facts, Saint-Etienne has decided not to appeal the decision.

"The club appeals strongly to everyone's responsibility so that these unspeakable acts never happen again at the Geoffroy-Guichard."

Bordeaux have been demoted to the third tier of French football as a consequence of their financial difficulties.

The club finished bottom of Ligue 1 this season and were preparing for a campaign in Ligue 2 for the first time since the early 1990s.

But on Tuesday they were sanctioned by the National Directorate of Control and Management (DNCG), which ordered a further demotion to the National 1 division following an examination of Bordeaux's finances.

Bordeaux, Ligue 1 champions in 2009, confirmed they are appealing the ruling, which will reportedly provide them with an extra two weeks to get their finances in order, and they could yet raise additional funds.

Aurelien Tchouameni's €100million move from Monaco to Real Madrid is apparently set to bring in roughly €11m, while Bordeaux stand to gain a substantial figure if Sevilla sell Jules Kounde, who has been heavily linked with Chelsea.

Bordeaux are said to have debts close to €40m, but a statement on their website suggested confidence in getting the decision overturned.

"Heard on June 14 by the DNCG, the club presented the guarantee of the re-engagement of the majority shareholder in the amount of €10m, an agreement with the holders of the club's debt as well as offers to sell a few players, whose cumulative amount exceeds the objectives set by the [Professional Clubs Control] Commission," their statement read.

If Bordeaux are successful in overturning the demotion to National 1, they will play the 2022-23 campaign in Ligue 2.

Saint-Etienne have "strongly condemned" crowd trouble following the club's relegation from Ligue 1 on Sunday.

Auxerre secured promotion to the top flight with a 5-4 penalty shoot-out victory after the two sides were level at 2-2 on aggregate.

There were ugly scenes after Saint-Etienne's 18-year stay in Ligue 1 was brought to an end, with fans storming onto the pitch.

Flares were thrown at the main stand, while players appeared to be targeted by supporters, who also clashed with police and security staff on the field.

Saint-Etienne vowed to take action following a dark day for the 10-time champions of France.

A club statement said: "Despite an exceptional and reinforced deployment of nearly 500 agents, many supporters invaded the pitch at the final whistle of the match against Auxerre.

"Some were guilty of several degradations and acts of violence towards players, the security agents, police and the fans in the Pierre-Faurand stand

"ASSE strongly condemns these acts, gives its full support to those affected and will initiate the necessary legal proceedings."

Saint-Etienne fans stormed the pitch in troubling scenes after a penalty shoot-out defeat to Auxerre confirmed their relegation from Ligue 1 on Sunday.

The Ligue 1-Ligue 2 play-off at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard ended 1-1 on the night and 2-2 on aggregate, with Hamza Sakhi's 51st-minute strike for Auxerre cancelled out by Mahdi Camara and extra time failing to produce a winner.

Ryad Boudebouz missed the first spot-kick of the shoot-out and that proved costly as Auxerre went on to triumph 5-4 and secure their spot back in the top flight.

The winning penalty was taken by Auxerre captain Birama Toure and preceded home supporters storming the pitch in frightening scenes, with flares and smoke bombs launched in the direction of the turf, with reports some were also thrown towards the directors' boxes.

Some fans also appeared to target Saint-Etienne players on a regrettable night for the joint-most successful club in Ligue 1 history, who have won the title 10 times – the same amount as Paris Saint-Germain.

Title races are the best, aren't they?

Months of games, so many ups and downs, goals scored and conceded, and yet it can all still come down to the finest margins in the closing minutes of the last day.

To paraphrase Homer Simpson, the winner is showered with praise; the loser is taunted and booed until my throat is sore.

With one matchday left, the title races in both Serie A and the Premier League are going to the final 90 minutes. Milan and Manchester City have their destinies in their own hands, but Inter and Liverpool are looking to respectively pounce on any stumble.

There is the potential for exceptional drama in Italy and England, but can the Nerazzurri and the Reds have much hope of pulling off the improbable and wrestling the respective title from their rivals?

Stats Perform has taken a look at some of the more dramatic title races from recent history that show anything is possible.

Every goal matters

The Eredivisie provided about as tense a finish as you could imagine in 2006-07, with PSV Eindhoven and Ajax unsurprisingly the main characters.

A strong title defence from Ronald Koeman's PSV began with 18 wins from 21 games, and just one defeat.

However, losing four and drawing four of their next 12 games coupled with Ajax winning five of six leading into the final day meant they were neck and neck on points heading into the last game.

Despite being behind on goal difference, a tremendous effort from PSV saw them pip their rivals after an emphatic 5-1 win over Vitesse, while Ajax could only muster a 2-0 victory over Willem II, losing the title by a single goal.

When goals made no difference in LaLiga

In the same season, Real Madrid made a disappointing start in LaLiga, drawing their first game 0-0 with Villarreal at home before going on to lose seven of their first 21 league matches.

After drawing four games in a row between mid-February and mid-March, title hopes seemed to be over for Fabio Capello's men, only for nine wins in 11 games to send them into the final day level on points with Barcelona.

Barca thrashed Gimnastic 5-1 away from home to do their bit, but Madrid eased to a 3-1 win against Real Mallorca at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The Blaugrana had a significantly better goal difference of +45 compared to Madrid's +26, but that mattered not as the tie-breaker came down to head-to-head record, which was in Los Blancos' favour having beaten Barca 2-0 at home and drawn 3-3 at Camp Nou.

"Agueroooooo!"

Following Sheikh Mansour's takeover of Manchester City in 2008, the club had grown year-on-year and by the 2011-12 season, felt they were ready to mount a challenge at the top of the Premier League.

Roberto Mancini's side started well enough, winning 11 of their first 12 games, but three defeats across December and January dented hopes, while two losses and two draws in a five-game period in March and April all but killed them.

That was until five wins in a row coincided with Manchester United losing to Wigan Athletic and dramatically drawing 4-4 with Everton at Old Trafford.

City beating United on matchday 36 swung things in the Sky Blues' favour, and they went into the last day needing only a win against lowly QPR to seal it.

In typical fashion, they made it hard work for themselves, finding themselves 2-1 down heading towards the 90th minute. United had won 1-0 at Sunderland, which meant City needed two goals or they would have lost the title in agonising fashion.

An Edin Dzeko header made it 2-2, before Mario Balotelli slid in Sergio Aguero for one of the most famous goals in English football history, giving City their first top-flight title since 1969.

 

The ultimate last day head-to-head

It was like something out of a Hollywood film. All the previous nine LaLiga titles had been won by Clasico giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, but in 2013-14, Atletico Madrid believed they could spoil the party.

Barca were the pacesetters, winning 13 of their first 14 games, while Real Madrid were struggling after losing to both Atletico and Barca.

Diego Simeone led his team to an incredible 16 wins from their first 18 games, but a 0-0 draw with Barca made it look like it would be the tightest of run-ins.

Indeed it was, with Real coming back to the party after an 18-match unbeaten run, though back-to-back defeats to Barca and Sevilla stopped them in their tracks.

Gerardo Martino's Barca were wobbling too, losing three out of seven games between February and March, and then drawing with Getafe and Elche to give Atletico their chance on the final day.

As if it could not have been more dramatic, Atletico went into the last game three points clear, but needing a point to clinch the title, away at Barcelona.

Alexis Sanchez opened the scoring for the Blaugrana, but Diego Godin's header handed the crown to Atletico.

When six were not on the beach

You may not be as familiar with this final day, but it stands as one of the most remarkable in the history of the game.

Never mind two or three, there were six clubs that could still claim the Ligue 2 title going into the final round of matches in 2016-17.

Strasbourg, Amiens, Troyes, Lens, Brest and Nimes all in with a shout with one game remaining, all separated by three points at most.

Technically, the drama was not really with the winner of the title, but the other automatic promotion spot that was up for grabs, with Strasbourg able to hold on to top spot following a nervy 2-1 win against Bourg-Peronnas, but it was a 96th-minute strike from Emmanuel Bourgaud sealing a 2-1 win at Stade Reims for Amiens that provided unbelievable drama, taking the aptly named Unicorns from sixth to second.

I did not think I would be advising Inter and Liverpool to go into their games with an "Amiens mindset", but there we are.

Nancy will lose their fully professional status for the first time after fan protests resulted in relegation from Ligue 2.

France great Michel Platini made his name at Nancy, who have been an ever-present in France's top two tiers since becoming a professional side in 1967.

However, they will play in the third tier next season after their relegation from Ligue 2 was confirmed.

Playing against fellow strugglers Quevilly Rouen on Friday, Nancy needed a positive result to keep their chances of survival alive, yet a fan protest against the club's owners – Pacific Media Group (PMG) – resulted in the match being called off due to security concerns, with smoke bombs having been thrown onto the pitch.

Quevilly were therefore handed a 3-0 victory and three points, confirming Nancy's drop out of the professional leagues. 

They last played in Ligue 1 in 2016-17, though had been ever-present in the top flight between 1996 and 2013.

It marked a dark day for PMG, which owns multiple clubs in Europe. Indeed, elsewhere on Friday, Barnsley, another team backed by the American-Chinese consortium, were relegated from the Championship to League One.

The body in charge of France's football leagues has called for urgent government support to help the sport survive its financial crisis.

The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) on Tuesday called for a meeting with authorities to establish an "emergency support plan" to safeguard the future of professional French clubs.

It said collective losses of more than €1billion meant "the survival of the professional football industry is at stake".

The stark warning came in the wake of the collapse of the television channel Telefoot Chaine, which broadcast for the final time last week.

Mediapro, which operated the channel, had struck a lucrative five-year deal with the LFP for Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 broadcast rights, but that agreement was cancelled in December after less than six months.

The LFP agreed a new deal with Canal Plus last week but, with the reduced broadcast earnings and the impact of behind-closed-doors matches during the coronavirus pandemic, it is forecasting overall revenue of €759.1m - almost €0.5billion less than had been budgeted by clubs for 2020-21.

"In this context, the measures already taken by the government for the current season last November have unfortunately turned out to be insufficient or inappropriate in terms of enabling the continuation of activity for the industry," the LFP said in a statement. "Especially since these announcements did not take into account the continuation of the closed-door matches in 2021.

"Consequently, the LFP requests an emergency meeting with the Ministry of the Economy, Finance and Recovery, and the Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports to receive the leaders of the LFP and a delegation of clubs to build an emergency support plan.

"There is no question here of asking the state to compensate for the drop in TV rights, or the failure of Mediapro. On these issues, the clubs have already made great efforts to adapt to this major drop in income, both through salary negotiations with their players and through the reforms that the LFP is preparing to ensure its future. However, it is essential that the state participates in helping professional clubs and their shareholders to overcome the emergencies that the COVID-19 crisis has generated.

"The survival of the professional football industry is at stake, and above all of a cultural and economic heritage that cannot be allowed to go up in smoke today."

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