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European qualification, honours 2016-17

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By ESPN Staff

Montpellier coach Rolland Courbis blasts Ligue 1 finances

Montpellier coach Rolland Courbis has told AFP French football is "going straight to the cemetery" with its finances in ever-worsening state.

French TV channels have signed a record rights deal to broadcast the professional game domestically, paying €748.5 million for the period of 2016-2020.

Though a significant improvement on the €607 million TV paid for the previous four-year period, the agreement is still dwarfed by that which broadcasters have struck with the Premier League.

PSG is a rare financial exception in Ligue 1 finances.

The new TV deal for the 20 clubs in England's elite will see the team that finishes bottom of the table earn three times as much as the side that picks up the Ligue 1 title.

That glaring discrepancy, added to the higher costs for employers in France in comparison to their English counterparts, has left Courbis, 61, to predict a gloomy future for the game in his country.

"To pay a player €100,000, a French club has to pay €150,000 and the player gets €40,000 whereas an English club has to pay €120,000 for him to get €80,000. And add to that the tax at 75 percent. We're going straight to the cemetery. In three years...OK, five years, it'll be the end of the French league."

In an interview with Les Echos published on Monday, Jean-Marc Mickeler, the head of the DNCG, which oversees French football's finances, reported Ligue 1 clubs had run up a €271 million debt during the 2014-15 campaign, excluding transfers, and added the situation would remain "complicated despite the fact the TV rights will increase from 2016-17."

French football's ability to unearth, nurture and then sell young talent at a significant profit remains the only method by which clubs can survive. Courbis noted that even some of Ligue 1's biggest sides have been forced to focus on gambling on promising youngsters with financial restrictions suffocating.

"The problem is that the best players leave every summer, and not only at Montpellier, but at every club in France bar Paris Saint-Germain. Look at Marseille or Monaco...We're becoming the kindergarten of Europe."

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