July 15, 2010

France, the 3 clubs promoted from Ligue 2 to Ligue 1, for the 2010-11 season.

Filed under: Football Stadia,France — admin @ 5:33 pm


Ligue Un site.
The map shows the 3 clubs that won promotion from Ligue 2 to Ligue 1, for the 2010-11 season.
Yo-yo club Caen are back in the French top flight again, bouncing straight back after finishing in first in the second tier this season. Caen’s last spell in Ligue Un lasted two seasons (2007 to 2009). Next season will be the 12th the club has played in Ligue 1. Caen averaged 18,914 per game the last season they were in the top tier (in 2008-09), but averaged 5,700 per game less in Ligue 2 in 2009-10.

The club plays at the 21,000-capacity Stade Michel d’Ornano. From some of the photos on the map page, you can see that Caen has a pretty decent ground for a municipal stadium (ie, good sight-lines; seats with backs; and no stupid, ugly and useless running track ruining it). Stade Michel d’Ornano (

Stade Malherbe Caen Calvados Basse Normandie (their official name) are from the city of Caen, which is in the north of France in Normandy, 15 km. (9 miles) from the English Channel. Caen is the capital of the Basse-Normandie region, and has a population of around 110,000 {2006 figure}, which makes it the 21st-largest city in France. The Malherbe in the club’s full name is a reference to the secondary school and cultural center called the Lycée Malherbe, which was founded in 1432. This school was originally called the Université de Caen, and in the late 1800s was re-named in honor of 16th and 17th century poet François de Malherbe, who was from Caen. The Calvados part of Caen’s name is a reference to the department {Calvados}, that Caen are from. Caen were founded in 1912, but have only been a professional club since 1985.

Second place in Ligue Deux in 2009-10 were Brest, who return to the first division after a 19-year absence, which began when the club were administratively relegated following the 1990-91 Ligue 1 season, for excessive debts. Stade Brestois are from the city of Brest, which is at the far western edge of France, on the Breton peninsula in Brittany. All those seasons in the wilderness of the third division has left Brest without a sizable fan base, as shown by the home ground, Stade Francis-le Blê, which has a capacity of just 10,228. Brest were still stuck in the third division earlier this decade, and in their first season back in the second tier, in 2004-05, Brest drew 7,330 per game. But their attendance settled into the high-5,000s to mid 6,000s per game in the 3 seasons of 2005-06 to 2007-08.
In 08/09, Brest saw a 10% increase at the turnstiles, in spite of a 14 place finish, and last season, they drew 7,009 per game.

The city of Brest is the 18th-largest in France, with around 140,000 {2004 estimate}, while the Brest metropolitan area population is around 303,000.

The third club to win promotion are Arles-Avignon, who will be making their top-flight debut in 2010-11. Arles-Avignon have now won 3 promotions in 4 years, including back-to-back promotions these last two seasons. Two years before that, the club were in the fourth division, the regionalized Championnat de France Amateur. In 2008-09, Athlétic-Club Arles were playing in the third division, the Championnat National, and drawing just 771 per game, at the 3,500 Stade Fernand Fournier in Arles. The club changed it’s name from AC Arles to AC Arles-Avignon in 2009, when they won promotion from the third tier, needed a larger ground, and moved from Arles to Avignon, which is 32 km. (20 miles) north of Arles. [Most media outlets in English speaking cyberspace still call them just Arles, but it looks like French media is sticking to Arles-Avignon.] Arles-Avignon now play at Parc des Sports in Avignon, which has a capacity of 9,430.

What makes Arles-Avignon’s promotion last May to Ligue 1 even more unlikely is that they were almost not allowed to play in Ligue 2 last season for irregularities in the club’s financial accounts. They had the decision reversed in July, 2009 following an appeal, then found themselves promoted to Ligue Un 10 months later.

Arles-Avignon drew 3,749 per game at their new home last season. Key to their promotion run was midfielder and playmaker André Ayew [who also excelled for Ghana in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa]. Sadly for the minnows from Avignon, Olympique Marseille management has indicated that Ayew’s loan spell at Arles-Avignon is over, so he’ll be playing for L’OM this season. Arles-Avignon have another problem…If you think the stadium at Brest is not really up to top flight caliber, just take a look at the forlorn, weed-strewn concrete municipal stadium that Arles-Avignon call home. The Parc des Sports holds just 9,430, and of course, it has an unsightly running track. I don’t think fans will be complaining of the venue’s shortcomings this coming season, as the novelty of top flight football in the region will be so great. But Arles-Avignon’s ground is not the sort of facility that can hope to sustain a top-flight club in western Europe.

Here is an article [translated], from Le, from 15th May, 2010, on Arles-Avignon’s promotion to Ligue 1… ‘Arles,Avignon [sic] enters Ligue 1′ .

On the map I have listed both Avignon and Arles. Arles has a population of around 52,000 {2007 figure}. Arles is the village where during part of 1898, visionary Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh lived, during part of the last, and probably most productive, period of his life. Avignon has a population of around 94,0000 {2006 figure}, and is the 44th largest city in France. For a 74-year period, The Papacy, then some discredited “anti-Popes”, set up shop in Avignon in the 15th century {see this, Avignon Papacy}.

Arles and Avignon are both in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. Avignon is 86 km. (53 miles) north of Marseille.

Here is an excellent article by Chris Mayer at 6 Pointer blog, from 26 July, 2010, ‘The rise and imminent demise of AC Arles Avignon‘.
Thanks to Ligue 1 site, for attendance figures, Ligue Deux attendance figures for 2009-10 season, at

Note: there are errors in the en.wikipedia page on Arles-Avignon, so go to the French Wikipedia page on the club if you want to read about them [The errors are that it is said Arles-Avignon has won promotion 4 straight seasons (it is 2 straight promotions, and 3 promotions in 4 seasons - they were in the third division 2 seasons (2007-08 and 2008-09, not one season). They won promotion from the 3rd to the 2nd level in 2008-09, then they won promotion from Ligue 2 to Ligue 1 in 2009-10. Also, the capacity of their stadium has not been updated from the 7,000 figure it was before Arles-Avignon started playing there last year. Plus there is a lot more on the club at the French wiki page, which is an interesting read even if the translation is not so great {see below}]
Thanks to the contributors to the pages at and,
2010-11 Ligue 1.
Arles-Avignon page at [translated]

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