French Second-Tier Side Lens Loses Promotion Appeal Due To Finances
The "eagerly awaited" promotion of Lens to Ligue 1 "is still being delayed after an appeal commission upheld a ruling banning them from joining the French top flight on financial grounds," according to INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL. Lens, the '98 French champions, "are owned by Azerbaijani businessman Hafiz Mammadov, who also owns FC Baku and recently acquired English Championship side Sheffield Wednesday." Lens is reported to be €10M ($13.5M) "short in its budget for next season to meet strict financial criteria." The club said in a statement, "Although the Bank of Azerbaijan has vouched for us ... the appeals commission has kept asking for 10 million euros. As the funds have not yet been transferred to our bank account, the decision has been upheld" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 7/16).