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Ligue One have made a massive change on long-standing shirt number rule this season

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There’s been a huge rule change in Ligue One involving shirt numbers and it benefits stars like Gianluigi Donnarumma, Alexis Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette.

For years now regulations on shirt numbers have been incredibly strict in the French top flight. Players were required to wear a number between 1 and 30 – though those two numbers along with 16, were reserved for goalkeepers.

Courtesy of a rough translation from Balls.ie, the LFP rule #670 reads: “Every Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 club must establish the number assignment list on Isyfoot 72 hours before the start of the competition.

“This list cannot exceed 30 names, the number 30 is the last in the list and may be supplemented and updated with every movement in the club. If a club justifies employ over 30 professional players under contract, the board may grant an exception to the preceding paragraph. Whimsical dials are prohibited (example: 45 – 82).

“The numbers 1, 16 and 30 are exclusively and necessarily reserved for goalkeepers. Ultimately, the number 40 can be assigned. All teams must have a jersey with number 33 that is not assigned to a player and reserved for breaking replacements. A directory is established early in the season and available to referees and delegates by the LFP.”

This very rule prohibited Mario Balotelli from wearing his favourite No.45 shirt at both Nice and Marseille and he wore No.9 as a result.

Last year, Donnarumma ended up getting a special reprieve granted so that he could wear the No.50 – while Lionel Messi was allowed to wear a number normally sported by a goalkeeper when he took No.30.

However, Footy Headlines have confirmed that shirt numbers in Ligue One are now completely open – with only restrictions on goalkeepers having to assume No.1.

It means Donnarumma has been permitted to wear No.99, his birth year. Chancel Mbemba and Wahbi Khazri, who have both had spells in the Premier League with Sunderland and Newcastle, are also both wearing No.99.

Former Barcelona, Arsenal and Manchester United forward Alexis Sanchez was unable to take the No.7 at Marseille and so went for No.70 instead, while his former teammate Alexandre Lacazette now has #91 on his back in his second spell at Lyon because No.9 wasn’t available.

Image: Alamy
Image: Alamy

Corentin Tolisso also returned this summer and is wearing No.88 for the very same reason.

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