Paris: Debt-ridden Monaco, who finished second in French League this season, were demoted to the second division by the French Professional League (LFP) on financial grounds Wednesday.
Monaco, who achieved direct qualification into the Champions League, have debts estimated at between 53 million ($62.61 million) and 87 million euros ($102.8 million).
The LFP’s finance committee met with Monaco officials last week, hoping for financial guarantees to be given, but apparently failed to obtain them.
Monaco, who finished second behind Olympique Lyon, said they would appeal against the decision.
“We have learnt about the LFP’s decision and we do not share their views. As a result, our lawyers will appeal in due course,” the club said in a statement.
According to sports a daily, Monaco would need to find around 25 million euros ($29.54 million) to avoid demotion as their participation in the Champions League next season would realise much needed funds.
Monaco made a loss of 15 million euros ($15.13 million) in 2001 and failed to pay their players’ wages on time earlier this season.
In October last year, the French media reported Monaco had been forced to borrow around 180 million euros to make up for debts for the two seasons they failed to play in European competition.
Monaco have been looking for investors to take over the club and pay their debts all season.
But a plan proposed by current club president Jean-Louis Campora was rejected by Prince Rainer because the main bidding firm was facing legal problems.
A group of Italian businessmen had also expressed interest in the takeover but insisted on coach Didier Deschamps being replaced.
Monaco also won their first League Cup this season and players said they had done their job on the pitch and were now hoping for a solution to be found.
“We were not necessarily expecting this even though it had been looming since December,” said midfielder Jerome Rothen.
“We’ve still got a week ahead of us to find a solution. And I hope they will find one because we’ve had a great season sportswise,” he added.
Rothen, one of the most coveted players in the league, said he would probably leave if relegation was confirmed by the appeals court.
“Obviously, it would not be interesting to stay, but we’re not there yet. Let’s enjoy our fine season first,” he said.
Monaco have always had the reputation of being a wealthy outfit, benefiting from the royal family’s generosity but Campora has always stated the club’s wealth was a myth.