Stade de France sale possible, says ministry

France’s Ministry of Sports has said that all options are open for the management of the Stade de France after a report emerged concerning the stadium’s current business model.

The report by France’s Court of Auditors has proposed the sale of the stadium, with French newspaper Le Parisien claiming that the French Football Federation (FFF) and French Rugby Federation (FFR) could be involved in either buying the venue or taking a stake in it.

The stadium is currently owned by the state. Through an agreement with a consortium formed by construction firms Vinci and Bouygues, the state placed the management of the stadium in the hands of the two companies in 1995. This arrangement runs until 2025 – a year after Paris is due to host the summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Le Parisien said that the Court of Auditors’ report, which has not been made public, recommends that the Stade de France could be sold to an entity that involves the FFF and the FFR. The current agreement is not deemed favourable to the French taxpayer and the state is said to be thinking about a new “robust and sustainable” economic model for the Saint-Denis venue, in which it would no longer have to contribute financially.

A representative for France’s Ministry of Sports told the AFP news agency: “All options are open: relating to forms of transfer, concession, or new management. The Court of Auditors says that all the legal possibilities of analysis must be opened in the interest of the state, including the transfer of the stadium. We will study it like all the other options.”

The ministry added that the state is planning to commission a study on the matter, with results expected in 2019 or early 2020.

The Stade de France was originally built for France’s staging of the FIFA World Cup in 1998 and is the home of the French football and rugby union teams, along with the country’s showpiece club matches for the two sports.

Image: Zakarie Faibis