Top French clubs have been upset by the fund-raising plans of Standard Liege in neighbouring Belgium.

The parent company of Standard, long-ago semi-finalists in the Champions Cup, plans to sell shares on the Paris stock exchange. But French clubs are forbidden by law from going public.

Jean-Michel Aulas, president of champions Lyon, was recently rebuffed by the French government when he pressed for a change in the law.

He said: “Until we are allowed to love with the times, France will fall further and further behind the game in Spain, England and Germany.”