Finance

Paris hits back at PSG president’s Parc des Princes claims

A war of words has erupted over Paris Saint-Germain’s future at the Parc des Princes, with the City of Paris firing back at the claims of PSG president, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, that its demands to sell the stadium are acting to push the Ligue 1 football club out of its home.

PSG has played at Parc des Princes since 1974, but is currently restricted by its 48,000 capacity, with the club having recorded its 100th consecutive sellout during the 4-3 Ligue 1 win over Troyes on October 29.

PSG has long been exploring its stadium options and the matter returned to the headlines last week as it emerged that the club, owned by Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), may look to acquire the Stade de France or switch to one of two new sites in the city if it is unable to complete a deal to purchase Parc des Princes.

Parc des Princes is owned by the City Council of Paris and while PSG is said to have held positive talks over the past four years with the Council to buy the stadium, Al-Khelaifi last week sounded his frustration over a lack of movement in the matter.

PSG has spent €85m (£73.4m/$88.1m) in renovation work on the Parc des Princes in recent years, and is understood to have committed €500m to improve and expand the stadium, increasing capacity from 48,000 to in excess of 60,000. However, this is dependent on PSG owning its home stadium with Al-Khelaifi yesterday (Tuesday) stepping up the rhetoric in the dispute in an interview with Spanish newspaper Marca.

Al-Khelaifi said: “Our first option is to stay, but I think the City Council does not want us to stay. They are pushing us out. For five years we have been discussing with them. Every time it’s false promises – today, tomorrow, this election, next election, we are tired of this. We need a proper settlement.

“I absolutely love Parc des Princes, it’s our history and I respect this more than anything, and staying has always been our option No.1. But I don’t think they want us there. Around €80m has been invested in the stadium out of our own pocket, but it’s not our stadium, who else would do this?

“We want a stadium like the other clubs – we need to increase our revenues, to have a better stadium for our fans; and more fans want to come in than we can facilitate. The City Council think we are joking, but we are not joking and are totally serious about other options. We are looking at other options because I don’t think we are welcome at Parc des Princes anymore. They are playing games with us and after five years we are tired.”

Al-Khelaifi’s latest comments have drawn a sharp response from the City. Emmanuel Grégoire, first deputy to the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, compared PSG’s offers for the Parc des Princes to the transfer fee the club paid in 2019, reported to be €47m, to acquire Argentinian midfielder Leandro Paredes.

Grégoire told French newspaper Le Parisien today: “The stadium sale, we have not categorically excluded. But it has to be at the right price. PSG offers €40m. This is cheaper than Paredes. Honestly?! Do you really think that the Parc is worth less? Than Leandro Paredes?”