Stade de France set for renovation as rugby deal signed

The Stade de France Consortium (CSDF) has said the Parisian venue is in line for redevelopment after a new deal was secured under which it will continue as the home of showpiece French rugby union games.

Under a tripartite agreement between the CSDF, French Rugby Federation (FFR) and French Rugby League (LNR), the 80,698-seat stadium will host national team games and the finals of the domestic Top 14 league until 2025.

The contract extension outlines a minimum of 36 matches across the next seven seasons, including Six Nations games and autumn internationals. Friendly matches ahead of the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and 2023 will also take place at the Stade de France.

France will host the World Cup in 2023, but games to be played at the Stade de France are included under a separate agreement.

The FFR had previously been exploring the development of a new stadium outside Paris, only to eventually scrap that project in December 2016.

The ‘Grand Stade’ project was to be located in Ris-Orangis, some 35km from central Paris. The stadium had an estimated cost of €581m (£520.2m/$682.1m) and had been set a completion date of 2023.

The Stade de France is also home of the French national football team and club competition finals. It opened in 1998, ahead of France’s staging of that year’s Fifa World Cup.

Commenting on the new deal, Pierre Coppey, president of the CSDF, said: “In hosting the matches of the tournament of Six Nations, the main matches of the autumn tours and the finals of the Top 14, the Stade de France is proving itself the theatre of the most major events of French rugby.

“It is in the same spirit of partnership that joint reflections were initiated with the French Rugby Federation to study the conditions to renovate the Stade de France and make it one of the most modern (stadia) in the world, serving the ambition of France and French rugby for the 20 coming years.”

Image: Woodym555