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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 January 2006, 14:22 GMT
France to OK football flotations
Action from the recent Lyons-Grenoble cup match
The new rules could increase French clubs' spending power
Restrictions on French football clubs raising money by selling their shares on the stock market are to be lifted.

Paris has said it will rescind a 20-year-old law stopping clubs from listing shares, after coming under pressure from Brussels.

The European Commission had criticised the law, describing it as unfair.

Leading clubs, such as Lyon, have long argued that curbs on flotations have stopped them from competing effectively with Europe's footballing elite.

'Unjustified barrier'

Lyon, the current French champions, were prevented from listing their shares three years ago by legislation passed in 1984.

Under plans outlined by French sports minister Jean-Francois Lamour, clubs would be able to fully list their shares under certain conditions.

They would be required to own a stake in their ground and fulfil other technical criteria.

The French government is to consult with the Commission over the proposed changes.

Brussels has criticised current financial restrictions on French sporting bodies arguing that they represented an "unjustified barrier to the free movement of capital".

France's Ligue 1 has long been regarded as the poor relation to the UK Premiership, German Bundesliga and Italian Serie A in terms of generating income.

However, an improved 600m euros TV rights contract, which came into force this season, has increased French clubs' spending power.

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