Football in France

The French Football Federation governs the organisation of Football in France. It is called Fédération Française de Football in French, the acronym being “FFF”. There are men and women national football teams, though the women’s team is very little-known by the average public. Monaco, a independent sovereign state, has its own team who takes part in the French competitions.

The competition system in France was until recent years organised in “divisions”, it is now a league system run by the Ligue de Football Professionnel as follows:

Professional game
Ligue 1 (League 1) – 20 teams
Ligue 2 (League 2) – 20 teams
National (mix of professional and amateur players)
Championnat de France Amateurs (Amateur France Championship)
Championnat de France Amateurs 2 (Amateur France Championship 2)
Regional football competitions
Women's football
Championnat de France de football féminin (Female Football France Championship)

Other famous French football cups are the Coupe de France (France cup), Coupe de la Ligue (league cup) and Trophée des Champions (Champions' Trophy).

The latter is a game played between the Coupe de France winner and the Ligue 1 championship winner. The Coupe de la Ligue is a competition with only professional clubs playing while the Coupe de France is open to any French club.

In 1998, the national team became world champion, surprising everyone and creating a huge pride amongst the French people. This remains an historic moment in people’s minds, the nation unity was even reinforced then. More than the football victory itself, the important side of this event was this feeling of community, which is often threatened by social, political or economic divisions in the French society.

But France’s performance in the World Cup in 2002 recalled painful times when France was a weak contender in world and European football. Today, football plays a unique role in the French society, players as well as coaches are highly regarded internationally.

Average Price of Tickets

The average price of tickets is about €10/ €20 for a local game to €100 for an international game at a Parisian stadium for instance. Most tickets during the year cost around €30/ €40 if you want a good seat in a popular stand.


Hooliganism is a rare phenomenon in France these days but problems can occur after football games, especially those involving the teams of Marseille and Paris, or during international competitions. If you are caught by the police while damaging public places, shops or fighting with other football fans, you face massive fines and even a prison term. The French authorities could also ban you from all stadiums in the country on a permanent basis.

Main Ligue 1 Teams


Marseille is a city located in the South East of France. Founded in 1899, its team was a European champion a decade ago and it still struggles to achieve that goal again. The shirt is light-blue and white. The home stadium of the team is the Stade Vélodrome located in Marseille. Marseille is one of the top French football teams and is regularly in the top 10 teams of the French championship competition. The motto of the team is “straight to the goal”.



Bordeaux is a city located in the South West of France. This is a discreet but very powerful team being 2nd of the French championship on a regular basis. The club was founded in 1881. The shirt is dark blue and white. The home stadium of the Girondins de Bordeaux is the Stade Chaban Delmas, inaugurated in 1938. The current coach of the team is Laurent Blanc, one of tthe 1998 world cup winners. The badge of the team features the number “1881”, refering to the date of foundation and the strong tradition of the team.



Paris is the French capital city. Its team has often been criticized for its lack of results in the national championships though it includes many great players. The club was created only in 1970. The home stadium of the team is the Parc des Princes (“princes’ garden”). The current coach is Paul Le Guen. This team has very unstable results, offering the best as the worst performances. The badge of the team represents the Eiffel Tower as a shelter for a baby buggy (representing the team?).



This club was created in 1950. During the last few years, Lyon has been several times champion of France, with remarkable achievements and many great players composing the team. Lyon is the third city of France by the number of inhabitants, and is a pretty young city (when it comes to the age of the inhabitants). The shirt is all white when playing at home. The home stadium of the team is the Stade Gerland. It is the only club in France to have won 7 championship titles in a row (in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008).


Channels broadcasting Games

In France

TF1, M6 and Canal+ regularly broadcast games.

Outside France

In the UK: Setanta sports 1 is the best channel for French football games.

In the USA: ESPN channels.

In Australia: Sky Sport or SBS are good channels.

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