27.07.2022 15:50 h

Bordeaux saved from third-tier relegation days before new season

Bordeaux have avoided relegation to the French third tier for financial irregularities, three days before the start of the new season, France's football federation (FFF) announced on Wednesday.

The six-time French champions dropped down to the second division last season after finishing bottom of Ligue 1.

Earlier this month they were demoted to the third-tier National after French football's financial authority (DNCG) dismissed an appeal, with the club in danger of bankruptcy.

On Monday, the French Olympic Committee advised the club should be reinstated to Ligue 2.

"The executive committee took the decision to accept the proposition of arbitration made by the French National Olympic and Sport Committee, dated July 25, 2022, concerning Bordeaux staying in Ligue 2," the FFF said.

"The FFF's executive committee demands the DNCG to summon Bordeaux to judge all immediate measures and controls in place against them.

"The FFF's executive committee also demands that the DNCG undertakes a reinforced and regular financial investigation of the club during the 2022-2023 season."

Earlier this week, Bordeaux, who won their last Ligue 1 title in 2009, sold teenage forward Sekou Mara to Premier League side Southampton for 13 million euros ($13.1 million) which eased the weight of their debt.

The new Ligue 2 campaign starts on Saturday with Bordeaux set to host Valenciennes and the fixture was confirmed by the French football league later on Wednesday.

"Excellent news for the @girondins and French football," Bordeaux president Gerard Lopez said on Twitter.

"The support of our supporters was essential and it's why I have decided to give away free tickets for #FCGBVAFC. More details soon."

Bordeaux won their first French Cup in 1941 and their maiden league title nine years later.

"The #Girondins belong to French sport's heritage," French sports minster Amelie Oudea-Castera tweeted.

"Seeing them in Ligue 2 from Saturday (and their women's team in September!) will thrill their supporters."

Bordeaux were also relegated on administrative grounds in 1991 because of debts of 300 million francs (about 45 million euros) but bounced back in 1992 and had been in the top flight ever since.