The supporters apprehended by the Sports Code. By Ludovic Giudicelli, Lawyer.

The decision establishing a sports classification is not a regulatory act. By Ludovic Giudicelli, Lawyer.


The club of Béziers finished the season of the French league of football of league 2 in the nineteenth place, synonymous with sports relegation in the third division.

The Biterroise team felt they should be ranked eighteenth.

Their argument related to an encounter played by the club ranked eighteenth (GFC Ajaccio) in which a normally suspended player took part.

Theoretically, the Ajacciens should lose on the green carpet this match having ended in a parity score.

Despite confirmation of the sanction by the league commission and then the CNOSF, the matter ended in the abandonment of the sanction.

This point recovered by the Corsica club is essential since it allowed the latter to play the famous repechage barrage.

It is in this context that AS Béziers had, on July 11, 2019, requested the Council of State to:

  • to obtain the annulment for excess of power the decision by which the board of directors of the Professional Football League approved the final classification of the French League 2 championship;
  • to obtain that the Professional Football League be ordered to carry out a new classification of the French Ligue 2 championship in order to reintegrate AS Béziers within this championship.

The Council of State having not acted before the resumption of the new championship, the request remained purely theoretical.

However, the decision rendered by the Council of State is interesting in that it confirms its case law concerning the regulatory nature of a particular type of act, the decision determining the classification of a sports competition.

The Council of State recalls its competence, fixed by the terms of article R311-1 of the Code of administrative justice.

The Council of State is competent to hear in the first and last resort: / (…) 2 ° Appeals directed against regulatory acts of ministers and other authorities with national jurisdiction and against their circulars and instructions of general scope

The administrative court then considers that the decision deciding the classification of a sports competition does not constitute a regulatory act.

Consequently, it does not fall within the scope of application of article R311-1 of the Code of Administrative Justice.

The Council of State therefore has no jurisdiction to hear first and last resort conclusions seeking the annulment of such a decision.

The judgment of the case is therefore assigned to the Paris administrative court, within the jurisdiction of which the Professional Football League has its headquarters, and this in application of the provisions of article R312-1 and R351-1 of the Code of administrative justice .

The Council of State therefore confirms its classic case law on the matter, taken on the occasion of a request concerning the classification of the French team wrestling championship [2].

Clubs should therefore be careful to direct their appeal to the competent administrative court, and not to the Council of State, when the legality of the decision determining the classification of a sports competition is at stake.

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