Football Features

Explained: Why France have dropped the League Cup

By Chris Smith

Published: 10:00, 21 September 2019 | Updated: 15:52, 12 February 2020

The French Football League (LFP) has chosen to suspend its League Cup competition from next season to allow for a “reduced season schedule”.

The competition – which was founded in 1994 – included every club from France‘s top two divisions, as well as others from the third tier, with the winner being entered into the Europa League – that spot will now be awarded via Ligue 1 placing.

Au revoir, Coupe de la Ligue: Five things to know…

  • The French League Cup was established in 1994.
  • Paris Saint-Germain have won the competition a record eight times.
  • But the LFP has confirmed this season will be its last edition.
  • The competition has been suspended to reduce fixture congestion in France.
  • The LFP retains the right to bring the competition back but the UCL’s 2024 expansion plan makes that unlikely.

However, having failed to secure TV rights for the competition for the 2020-2024 period, the LFP have voted against staging it after the current season, although they do reserve the right to resume it in the future, should they feel it necessary.

“The LFP’s board and its general assembly have decided to suspend the organisation of the League Cup after the 2019-2020 edition,” the LFP said in a statement.

“Depending on the market, the LFP retains the right to relaunch the competition in the future.”

The decision comes as the European Club Association pushes for national football governing bodies to make cuts in their season schedules to make way for an expanded Uefa Champions League from 2024.

Could England scrap its League Cup too?

Of countries containing Europe’s top five leagues, England is the only one remaining to still have a League Cup tournament and there are now genuine fears it, too, could soon be scrapped.

The English edition dates back to 1960 and although there have been some question marks regarding its value and how much of an effect it has on squad fatigue, it does still hold an important place in the footballing calendar.

Subscribe to Squawka’s Youtube channel here.

In 2018/19, Manchester City won the competition for the fourth time in six years and despite coming up against lower league opposition such as Burton Albion and Oxford United, Pep Guardiola showed the League Cup full respect, often fielding strong XIs containing the likes of Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus.

City went on to win the domestic treble last year and that – coupled with Manchester United securing the trophy as part of a double alongside the Europa League in 2017 – is a serious mark against the accusation that it can over-work a squad or be a hinderance to top clubs.

Even for those who don’t wish to field their strongest sides, the League Cup has provided a great platform for young players over the years, with the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Paul Scholes and, more recently, Trent Alexander-Arnold all making their senior debuts in the competition.

And for sides who are outside the so-called “Big Six” bracket, the League Cup has brought some of the most famous moments in club history, with Birmingham City and Swansea City winning the title in 2011 and 2013 respectively, and a number of famous giant killings down the years such as Southend United and Coventry City knocking out Manchester United in the 2006/07 and 2007/08 seasons.

Granted, the League Cup will always be held in lower regard the European competition and the FA Cup, but its place in English football is one of value and should the FA move to abolish it, you can be sure the fans would move to strongly oppose the decision.