French players called to go on strike if Ligue 1 not expanded to 22 teams next season

Goal.com

Former PSG and Toulouse manager Antoine Kombouare has called on players to go on strike next season if Ligue 1 is not expanded to 22 clubs.

The French top division has abandoned the 2019-20 season following the coronavirus outbreak, with PSG declared champions and bottom two Amiens and Toulouse relegated.

This has drawn criticism across France with many feeling the league has acted rashly in calling a halt to the season so soon, and some clubs, including Amiens and Lyon, have threatened legal action.

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Kombouare has gone a step further, and called for players to take direct action and refuse to play in 2020-21 unless Amiens and Toulouse are reprieved from relegation.

"The players and coaches must agree to strike at the start of next season if that does not happen," he told L'Equipe.

"There will be layoffs. Even at the amateur level, it will hurt. Having players end their careers in this way is terribly unfair, and I have always hated injustice. Amid this suffering and concern born of this crisis, we must unite. We are not united enough. It makes me angry."

Occupying the two automatic Ligue 1 relegation slots when Ligue 1 was abandoned after most teams had played 28 matches, Toulouse were 14 points from safety having won just three games and lost 21 this season.

Amiens were in with a better shot at survival, just four points behind Nimes in 18th, however both have gone down and will be replaced by Lorient and Lens from Ligue 2 next season.

Kombouare's most recent management job in football was with Toulouse, and his son works at Amiens as an administrative director. Despite this, Kombouare says he would feel the same way if any other team had been relegated.

Amiens have already confirmed they will fight the decision to relegate them to the second tier of French football, and have started an online petition to get support from fans and show there is a desire to restart the 2019-20 Ligue 1 campaign.

A statement published by Amiens said: "This decision is for our club, all our players, coaches, administrators, volunteers and supporters extremely fraught with consequences.

"Pending the publication of the minutes of board of directors' meeting, Amiens reserve the right to contest this decision, since sporting merit, in this particularly difficult period for all, should on the contrary have led the various decision-making bodies not to pronounce any relegation."

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