Ligue 1 is the top division of French club soccer and organized by Ligue de Football Professionnel. The league was founded in 1932 and called the National and then Division 1 before being rebranded as Ligue 1 before the 2002/03 season.
The 20-team league plays from August through May with a 2-week break for Christmas and New Year’s. Each team plays every other team home and away for a 38-game season. Teams are awarded 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, and 0 points for a loss.
The team with the most points at the end of the season is declared the champion. They receive the L’Hexagoal, the Ligue 1 winners’ trophy which has been used since the end of the 2006/07 season. The trophy’s name was selected by a vote of fans from a selection of names submitted by fans. The vote competition was run by league administrator, Ligue de Football Professionnel, and French TV channel TF1.
The Ligue 1 winner and runner-up automatically qualify for the UEFA Champions League group stage while the 3rd place team enters the Champions League third qualifying round. The 4th place team qualifies for the UEFA Europa League. The league’s other 2 Europa League berths are reserved for the winners of the domestic cups, Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue, but if one or both winners have qualified for Europe by the league finish the 5th and 6th place finisher can qualify for the Europa League.
The league has the potential to qualify another team through the UEFA Fair Play Ranking. If the league is awarded the Fair Play berth, Ligue 1 has a Fair Play table to determine the team that represents the league.
A relegation/promotion system is used between Ligue 1 and Ligue 2. The current system was adopted in 2016/17 and sees the bottom 2 teams from Ligue 1 relegated to Ligue 2 and replaced by the top 2 teams from Ligue 2. The 18th place team from Ligue 1 then faces the 3rd place team from Ligue 2 in a home and away tie with the winner earning a berth in Ligue 1. The Ligue 2 side hosts the first leg.