Ligue 1 vs Premier League

Premier League vs Ligue 1 – What’s The Difference?

Last updated on January 22nd, 2022

If you’ve been following the top leagues in European football, you may have noticed that there are a few popular ones, including the Premier League and Ligue 1.

How are these 2 competitions different, and which one is better?

Here’s what you need to know:

The difference between Premier League and Ligue 1

The Premier League involves the top 20 teams in English football, while Ligue 1 includes the top 20 teams in French football. Both of these competitions mainly differ in terms of their squad rules and Europa Conference League qualification.

Here is a further comparison between these 2 leagues:

Number of teams involved

Both the Premier League and Ligue 1 have 20 teams in the league. This is similar to the other top leagues in Europe, including:

The only top European league that does not have 20 teams is the Bundesliga, which only has 18 teams in their league.

Origin of teams

The teams in the Premier League originate from England, while those in Ligue 1 originate from France.

Here are some of the top teams from each country that have been playing in these leagues:

Premier LeagueLigue 1
Manchester CityPSG
Manchester UnitedLOSC Lille

Frequency and duration of competitions

Both competitions have a similar schedule, where they will start in August, and then end in May.

This is similar to the other top European leagues as well.

Ligue 1 usually has a 2-week winter break. This normally starts in mid-December, and the competition will resume in the first week of January.

In contrast, the Premier League does not have a fixed winter break, where all teams will be resting at once.

To keep up with the television broadcasting contracts, the Premier League will have a split winter break, where some teams will take a break, while others will continue to play.

Format of competition

Both the Premier League and Ligue 1 follow a double round-robin league format. Each team will play against the other 19 clubs in the league, for a total of 38 matches.

Squad size

Each club in the Premier League can only have 25 players. A maximum of 17 players are considered to be ‘non-homegrown’.

A maximum of 9 substitutes can be included in the match squad for Premier League teams.

Meanwhile, the rules are not really clear for the squads in Ligue 1. However, in Football Manager, it was stated that a squad can register a maximum of 4 non-EU players.

Qualification for competition

To qualify to be in the Premier League, your team will need to be in the top 20 football teams in the English football pyramid. If they are starting at the bottom of the pyramid, they will need to get promoted to the different tiers, and ultimately reach the Premier League.

One of the most gruelling competitions is the EFL Championship, which is the second tier of English football. There are 24 teams that are competing for 3 spots in the Premier League.

The teams that are in 3rd to 6th place will compete in the Championship playoffs. This is one of the most intense competitions, especially since there is a Premier League spot at stake!

For Ligue 1, the bottom 2 teams will be relegated, and the top 2 teams from Ligue 2 will be promoted.

The 17th placed team in Ligue 1 (17th placed) will compete with the 3rd-placed team in Ligue 2 in a relegation playoff match.

This is a 2-legged match where the first match is played at the home of the Ligue 1 side, while the second leg is played at the home of the Ligue 2 side.

UEFA competitions placing

Your team will be eligible to qualify for UEFA competitions, based on how they perform in the league. The qualification is different for both competitions:

Premier LeagueLigue 1
1stChampions League
Group Stage
Champions League
Group Stage
2ndChampions League
Group Stage
Champions League
Group Stage
3rdChampions League
Group Stage
Champions League
Third Qualifying Round
4thChampions League
Group Stage
Europa League
Group Stage
5thEuropa League
Group Stage
Europa Conference
League play-offs

This means that the Premier League has more Champions League spots (4) compared to Ligue 1 (3).

For the qualification to the Europa Conference League, the 5th team in Ligue 1 will qualify for the play-offs.

In the event that 5th place wins the Coupe de la Ligue in France, they will qualify for the Europa League and not the Europa Conference League.

Meanwhile, the winners of the EFL Cup in England will qualify for the Europa Conference League play-offs, instead of the 6th-placed team.

Rewards for winning competition

Here are the rewards your team will receive when they win either competition:

Premier LeagueLigue 1
Prize MoneyHigherLower
Qualification for next
season’s Champions League
for Super Cup
FA Community ShieldTrophée des Champions

When comparing the 2020/21 prize money that the winners received in the Premier League and Ligue 1, the Premier League winners received a higher amount of prize money (€184 million vs €60 million).

Furthermore, the winners of both the Premier League and Ligue 1 will be guaranteed automatic qualification to the UEFA Champions League group stages.

In terms of the Super Cup competitions that they play, the champions of Ligue 1 will play against the Coupe de la Ligue winners in the Trophée des Champions.

Meanwhile, the Premier League winners will play against the FA Cup winners in the FA Community Shield.

Dominance of teams

In this section, we will be looking at the past winners of these 2 leagues since the 2011/12 season:

Premier LeagueLigue 1
Manchester City (5)PSG (7)
Chelsea (2)Monaco (1)
Liverpool (1)Lille (1)
Leicester City (1)Montpellier (1)
Manchester United (1)

In Ligue 1, it has mainly been dominated by PSG, who has won 7 out of the 10 possible trophies.

Meanwhile, the Premier League has been ‘slightly’ more competitive, as there have been 5 different winners for the past 10 years.

However, it is still pretty dominant as Manchester City has won 5 out of the last 10 titles.

As such, the Premier League may be slightly more exciting to watch compared to Ligue 1.

Champions League performances

In this section, we will see how the clubs from these leagues have performed in the Champions League. This is the best indicator of how well the league is as a whole, since the Champions League is a competition between the top European clubs.

To make a fairer comparison, I will be looking at the semi-finalists for the past 5 years that come from either league:

Premier LeagueLigue 1
2020/212 (Manchester City
and Chelsea)
1 (PSG)
2019/2002 (PSG
and OL)
2018/192 (Tottenham
and Liverpool)
2017/181 (Liverpool)0
2016/1701 (AS

The Premier League has more Champions League semi-finalists (5) compared to Ligue 1 (4).


Here is a summary of the comparison between these 2 leagues:

Premier LeagueLigue 1
of teams
Origin of teamsEnglandFrance
Duration10 months10 months
FormatDouble round-robinDouble round-robin
of matches
Squad size25 (17 homegrown)Maximum
4 non-EU players
QualificationTop 2 from EFL Championship

3rd – 6th will play in playoffs
Top 2 from Ligue 2

3rd in Ligue 2 has playoff
with 18th in Ligue 1
Champions League
Prize MoneyHigherLower
Qualification for 
next season’s
Champions League
for Super Cup
FA Community ShieldTrophée des Champions
Dominance of teamsMainly Manchester CityMainly PSG
Champions League 
5 semi-finalists
in the last 5 years
4 semi-finalists
in the last 5 years


The Premier League and Ligue 1 are 2 of the top footballing competitions in the European football season.

Based solely on the Champions League performances, the Premier League takes the slight edge!

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