The Coupe Charles Simon, commonly known as the Coupe de France (French pronunciation: [kup də fʁɑ̃s], French Cup), is the premier knockout cup competition in French football organized by the French Football Federation. The cup competition is named after Charles Simon, a French sportsman who died while serving in World War I, and is open to all amateur and professional football clubs in France, including clubs based in the overseas departments and territories. The final is played at the Stade de France and the winner of the Coupe de France qualifies for the group stage of the UEFA Europa League. The reigning champions are Paris Saint-Germain who defeated Marseille in the final of the 2015–16 competition.
The Coupe de France was first held in 1917–18 and, during the 2016–17 season, celebrated its 100th season. Combined with random draws and one-off matches (no replays), the Coupe de France can be difficult for the bigger clubs to win. The competition is usually beneficial to the amateur clubs as it forces higher-ranked clubs, usually professional clubs, to play as the away team when drawn against lower-league opposition if they are competing two levels below them. However, despite the advantages, only one amateur club has actually reached the final since professionalism was introduced in French football in 1932: Calais RUFC in 2000. Both clubs who have won the competition and were not playing in Ligue 1 were professional, Le Havre in 1959 and Guingamp in 2009. The Coupe de France is managed and run by the Coupe de France Commission, whose president is former French international Willy Sagnol.
7,422 clubs participated in the 2011–12 cup competition. Furthermore, an improved 7,656 clubs competed in the 2013–14 edition.Close