The Ligue 1 is the highest division of league football in France.

Initially, the First Division football in France was played as an amateur league run by the Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques (USFSA) between 1894 to 1919 and by the French Football Federation between 1919 to 1926.

After the National Council of the French Football Federation voted in favour of professionalism in French football in 1930, the Ligue 1 - then known as National - was instituted.

The first season of National began in 1932-33, with 20 teams. From 1933 to 2001, the top-tier league in France was called Division 1 and it was only in 2002 that the French league was renamed as Ligue 1.

Over the years, Ligue 1 has often changed the allotment of clubs (14, 16, 18, 20) to feature in the tournament.

Ligue 1 follows the basic promotion-relegation rules, as it is in other major European Leagues. The clubs who finish the season at 19th and 20th positions are relegated to Ligue 2, while the top two teams in Ligue 2 win promotion to Ligue 1.

A two-legged relegation/promotion play-off is played between the 18th-placed team in Ligue 1 and the winner of the promotion playoffs in Ligue 2.

In Ligue 2, the fourth and fifth-placed teams play a one-legged fixture where the winner faces the third-ranked team in the second-tier competition. The winner of this tie then battles the third-last team in Ligue 1 to secure promotion in the top-flight competition.

In case the Ligue 2 team wins on aggregate, they are promoted to Ligue 1 and their opponent is relegated to Ligue 2. On the flipside, if the Ligue 1 team wins the play-off, both clubs remain in their respective leagues.

The 1992-93 season is the first - and only instance - in history where no team walked away with the league title. Initial winners Marseille were stripped off the title due to their involvement in a bribery scandal and runners-up Paris Saint Germain refused to claim the league crown.

Who were the first winners of Ligue 1?

Olympique Lillois, the predecessor of Lille, were the first league champions of France football in the professional era. They defeated Cannes in the final by a score of 4-3.

Georges Winckelmans netted a brace as his side, who topped Group A with 28 points from 18 games, managed to edge past Cannes - who qualified for the final ahead of top-ranked FC Antibes who were involved in a bribery scandal.

Lyon won the league in 2002-03, the first season following the rebranding of Division 1 to Ligue 1. It was the second of seven consecutive league wins for the club between 2001-02 and 2007-08.

Who has the most Ligue 1 titles?

Paris Saint Germain and Saint Etienne share the record for most Ligue 1 titles. PSG, who won the Ligue 1 2021-22 season, now have 10 league titles just as Les Verts.

Saint Etienne were the first team to win 10 Ligue 1 titles, with their last domestic success coming back in the 1980–81 season.

PSG, who won their maiden Ligue 1 title in 1985–86, have bagged eight of their 10 league titles since winning their third domestic title in 2012–13.

Ligue 1 winners list

2021–2022: Paris Saint Germain

2020–2021: Lille

2019–2020: Paris Saint Germain

2018–2019: Paris Saint Germain

2017–2018: Paris Saint Germain

2016–2017: Monaco

2015–2016: Paris Saint Germain

2014–2015: Paris Saint Germain

2013–2014: Paris Saint Germain

2012–2013: Paris Saint Germain

2011–2012: Montpellier

2010–2011: Lille

2009–2010: Marseille

2008–2009: Bordeaux

2007–2008: Lyon

2006–2007: Lyon

2005–2006: Lyon

2004–2005: Lyon

2003–2004: Lyon

2002–2003: Lyon

2001–2002: Lyon

2000–2001: Nantes

1999–2000: Monaco

1998–1999: Bordeaux

1997–1998: RC Lens

1996–1997: Monaco

1995–1996: Auxerre

1994–1995: Nantes

1993–1994: Paris Saint Germain

1992–1993: unattributed

1991–1992: Marseille

1990–1991: Marseille

1989–1990: Marseille

1988–1989: Marseille

1987–1988: Monaco

1986–1987: Bordeaux

1985–1986: Paris Saint Germain

1984–1985: Bordeaux

1983–1984: Bordeaux

1982–1983: Nantes

1981–1982: Monaco

1980–1981: Saint-Étienne

1979–1980: Nantes

1978–1979: Strasbourg

1977–1978: Monaco

1976–1977: Nantes

1975–1976: Saint-Étienne

1974–1975: Saint-Étienne

1973–1974: Saint-Étienne

1972–1973: Nantes

1971–1972: Marseille

1970–1971: Marseille

1969–1970: Saint-Étienne

1968–1969: Saint-Étienne

1967–1968: Saint-Étienne

1966–1967: Saint-Étienne

1965–1966: Nantes

1964–1965: Nantes

1963–1964: Saint-Étienne

1962–1963: Monaco

1961–1962: Stade de Reims

1960–1961: Monaco

1959–1960: Stade de Reims

1958–1959: Nice

1957–1958: Stade de Reims

1956–1957: Saint-Étienne

1955–1956: Nice

1954–1955: Stade de Reims

1953–1954: Lille

1952–1953: Stade de Reims

1951–1952: Nice

1950–1951: Nice

1949–1950: Bordeaux

1948–1949: Stade de Reims

1947–1948: Marseille

1946–1947: Roubaix-Tourc

1945–1946: Lille

1938–1939: Sète

1937–1938: Sochaux

1936–1937: Marseille

1935–1936: R. Colombes 92

1934–1935: Sochaux

1933–1934: Sète

1932–1933: O.Lillois

Author: William Paul

Featured photo: AFP / FRANCK FIFE