‘This is unjust’: Amiens president rails against relegation from Ligue 1

The club has taken legal action after being relegated from a league that had 10 rounds of fixtures left to play

By Jeremy Smith for Get French Football News

When son of the city Emmanuel Macron was elected president of France on 7 May 2017, the people of Amiens must have expected that proud event to be the highlight of their month. However, the small northern city straddling the River Somme was the centre of attention again a fortnight later, when Emmanuel Bourgaud scored a 96th-minute winner against Reims on the final day of the Ligue 2 season to take Amiens from sixth to second in the table. With the last kick of the season, Bourgaud had earned the club promotion to Ligue 1 for the first time in their history.

For club president Bernard Joannin this was the culmination of 11 years of work, most of which was spent in France’s third tier, the club only regaining professional status in 2016. Joannin, a 70-year-old former PE teacher who owns several Intersport franchises (think Sports Direct, although the suave, affable Frenchman could not be more removed from Mike Ashley), had the people of the city in mind when he bought the club. “I took over in 2009 with other local businessmen and my objective was to give back to the city what they had given us by helping us to build successful businesses,” he says.

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