French Ligue 1 football club FC Nantes has seen the price of the rent agreement at its Stade de la Beaujoire home ground triple after a new deal was reached with the Metropolitan Council.
The club’s previous agreement with the Council was worth €160,000 (£138,000/$190,000) per year, but the deal came to an end yesterday (Wednesday). A temporary two-year agreement, effective from today, has now been signed and will be worth €450,000 annually.
Local radio station France Bleu notes that the new agreement will include a fixed amount of €250,000 per year, plus an additional sum that will vary depending on FC Nantes’ turnover. Based on the club’s current financial situation, the additional sum will amount to €200,000, meaning the total annual rent fee will be €450,000.
Ali Rebouh, Deputy Mayor of the City of Nantes and Vice-President at the Metropolitan Council, said the previous agreement between the Council and the club was an “anomaly” when compared with other Ligue 1 teams.
“I almost want to tell you that we are trying to erase an anomaly,” he said. “We had one of the lowest prices in Ligue 1. The metropolis has therefore studied and compared the rents in other cities. And we arrive at a price which seems fair, balanced and which corresponds to our situation. There was no desire for revenge.”
Nantes’ previous agreement was signed 20 years ago. The new deal will initially last two years to grant the Council time to assess the agreement before committing to a longer-term arrangement.
The Stade de la Beaujoire will be fitted with a new pitch at the end of the 2021-22 season, with the venue due to host matches during France’s staging of the 2023 Rugby World Cup. The stadium will also host football matches during the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games.
The stadium opened in 1984 and hosted matches during the UEFA European Championship held that year. It was also a host venue during the 1998 FIFA World Cup in France.
Nantes had been given the green light to build a new 40,000-seat stadium back in December 2018. However, the plans were put on hold by local authorities in February 2019 amid legal issues surrounding Waldemar Kita, the team’s owner. Kita later insisted that the club was committed to the project but little progress has been made over the past two years.
The €200m ‘YelloPark’ stadium would feature a retractable roof and a giant 360-degree screen. There had been hopes that the stadium would open in time for the 2023 Rugby World Cup but the Stade de la Beaujoire will be used instead.