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Monaco seal return to Ligue 1

PARIS – Monaco clinched promotion back to Ligue 1 after two seasons in the second tier on Saturday thanks to a 1-0 win away to Nimes.

The principality club had to win in Nimes to be certain of clinching promotion with two games to spare, and duly got the three points they needed thanks to a stoppage-time goal from substitute Ibrahima Toure.

Claudio Ranieri’s side have lost just one of their last 19 Ligue 2 games and are six points clear of Guingamp in second. They need just two more points from their remaining matches to win the title.

Monaco were relegated from Ligue 1 in 2011 after 34 unbroken years in the top flight and finished eighth in the second tier last season.

However, their fortunes have been transformed since Russian billionaire Dimitri Rybolovlev bought the club in December 2011.

Monaco are now likely to spend big in an attempt to make a major impact in Ligue 1 next season, and reports in France and Spain on Saturday suggested that Atletico Madrid’s Colombian striker Radamel Falcao could move to the Stade Louis II in the summer.

However, France’s professional clubs are seeking to change the rules that currently allow Monaco to benefit from the relaxed tax laws in the Mediterranean principality.

Up until now, foreigners playing for the principality club have not had to pay income tax, while French players have paid less in national insurance contributions while with Monaco.

A decision taken last month by the French football league (LFP) means Monaco are set to be subject to the same tax laws as all French clubs as of June next year.

“Monaco belong at the top level of French football,” said LFP president Frederic Thiriez. “It is therefore all the more important that the club adheres to French rules, especially in relation to tax, so that every club in the league is on a level playing field.”

It was reported recently, following a meeting between Rybolovlev and French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet, that Monaco could be prepared to pay a one-off sum of 200 million euros ($260m) as a means of avoiding adhering to the new rules.


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