French Ligue 1 football club Paris Saint-Germain has threatened to leave the Parc des Princes after the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, insisted that the stadium is not for sale.
PSG has played at Parc des Princes since 1974 but the club is currently restricted by its 48,000 capacity.
PSG has long been exploring its options and the matter returned to the headlines in November as it emerged that the club 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 the Parc des Princes.
Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the club’s president, later said that demands made by the City of Paris are pushing the club out of the stadium. The venue is owned by the City Council of Paris and Al-Khelaifi has grown frustrated over the lack of movement regarding talks over the stadium.
Over the weekend, Hidalgo clarified the city’s stance on the matter during an interview with Le Parisien. “Very clearly, the Parc des Princes is not for sale,” she said.
She added: “It is an exceptional heritage for Parisians. But of course we need to accompany PSG with their desire and need to renovate, increase the capacity and modernise the Parc des Princes…”
Following the remarks, a spokesperson for PSG told the newspaper: “Everyone loses in the position taken by the mayor. Paris Saint-Germain is now forced to find alternative options to relocate the club, depriving Paris of a major investment for its attractiveness. This is not the outcome the club, nor its supporters, was hoping for.”
PSG has spent €85m (£75m/$92m) 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 its capacity from 48,000 to in excess of 60,000.
This is said to be dependent on PSG owning its home stadium and Al-Khelaifi said in November that the club’s first option is to stay. He added that the City Council is “pushing” the club out of the Parc des Princes.
In an interview with Spanish newspaper Marca, Al-Khelaifi said: “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?”
At the time, Emmanuel Grégoire, first deputy to Hidalgo, said that the stadium sale had not been categorically excluded, but the Mayor’s latest comments appear to represent a change in stance. According to Grégoire, PSG’s offer was €40m.