France’s Court of Auditors has stated its concern that the majority of venue use agreements for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris have yet to be agreed, highlighting the Stade de France as a prime example.
A report submitted to the French government makes 15 recommendations in total for organisers. According to French newspaper Le Monde, it states that “only 11 of the 80 user agreements planned had been signed” at the start of November 2022. The Court has called for these agreements to be signed in early 2023, highlighting “an operational risk and a financial risk”.
The Stade de France is scheduled to become the de-facto Olympic Stadium for the Games, hosting athletics and rugby sevens competitions during the Olympics and Para athletics for the Paralympics.
Indeed, the stadium is the subject of a lengthy passage of the report, with the Court stating a contract “is still not signed”, adding the assumption that the Paris 2024 Organising Committee (COJO) will take on the operating costs linked to “the exclusive provision” of the Saint-Denis stadium for the Games “is not guaranteed”.
The Stade de France is currently owned by the French Government through the Consortium Stade de France. Through an agreement with the consortium formed by construction firms Vinci and Bouygues, the state granted the management of the 77,083-capacity stadium to the two companies in 1995.
The Court said talks between the COJO and the Consortium “were interrupted in November 2022, given the persistent substantial differences on the financial, contractual and operational” aspects of a deal.
The COJO is said to be seeking to use the Stade de France from March 15 to September 20, 2024, with a non-exclusive window of March 15 to June 1, followed by exclusive rights. This latter aspect will require a financial agreement with the Consortium, which will be unable to stage other events at the stadium during the exclusive window.
The Court added that the total cost of making the Stade de France available for the Games “will be significantly higher” than the €7.5m (£6.65m/$8.08m) estimated by the government in October 2016.
The multi-year budget for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games was last month set at €4.38bn, an increase of around 10%, or 5% net of inflation. The budget was adopted following a third budgetary review, which Paris 2024 said marked the most important stage in the forecasting of income and expenditure linked to delivery of the event.