Facts About Soccer in France


Football is one of the most popular sports in the world. This doesn't refer to football played in America, however. Football is the name used around the world for the sport that Americans know as soccer. In France, this sport is widely practiced by men and women in multiple leagues. The French national team also competes in international tournaments such as the World Cup.


In France, soccer is governed by the French Football Federation (FFF). This organization oversees the soccer activities within the country (and in locations such as French Polynesia and Guyana). The FFF is part of FIFA, which is the organizing body for international soccer operations. The FFF was first created in 1919, and since that time has sanctioned all the soccer events held in leagues throughout the country. The FFF also runs training facilities that help develop French soccer players.

Major Leagues

Many countries throughout the world use a league system for their professional soccer organizations. This league system is meant to foster competitive events in which struggling teams do not have to suffer embarrassment at the hands of powerhouse organizations. France has two main professional leagues, known as Ligue 1 and Ligue 2. These two leagues are governed by the Ligue de Football Professional. Ligue 1 is rated as the fifth-best soccer league throughout Europe in 2010. Bordeaux were the champions of Ligue 1 in 2009.

Minor Leagues

Championnat National is the third division of soccer in France. This league is also governed by the FFF, but is not part of the Ligue de Football Professional. France also has two amateur leagues that are used to develop players and teams. These two leagues are the Championnat de France Amateur 1 and 2. The amateur leagues have their own governing body, which is the Ligue du Football Amateur.

French National Team

The FFF chooses the players who will play on the French National Soccer Team. Throughout history, the French soccer team has seen both success and failure on the national stage. In 1998, France won the World Cup; it was also the host nation for that tournament. The national team qualified for the 2010 World Cup as the second place team within their group. The team plays all their home games at the Stade de France, located in Saint-Denis. According to ESPN’s Soccer Power Index, the French National Team is rated 11th among all soccer teams in the world in April 2010.

French Women

Women’s soccer in France is divided between three leagues: Division 1 Feminine, Division 2 Feminine and Division 3 Feminine. These leagues are operated by the FFF and operate on a regulation system akin to the men’s leagues. France also fields a ladies team to compete in the Women’s World Cup.