Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) president, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, has stated the French Ligue 1 football club will seek to move from the Parc des Princes following the City of Paris’ definitive declaration that the stadium is not for sale.
The City on Tuesday moved to end the prospect of PSG acquiring the Parc des Princes, with Mayor Anne Hidalgo stating “the subject is closed”. The Council of Paris voted in favour of ensuring that PSG’s current home will remain the property of the City and will not be made available for sale, as the club has been hoping.
Al-Khelaifi responded to this development on the sidelines of yesterday’s (Thursday’s) UEFA Congress meeting, where he told reporters: “It’s too easy to say now that the stadium is no longer for sale. We know what we want, we wasted years trying to buy the Parc. It’s over now, we want to move on from the Parc.”
Relations between the City and PSG over the future of the Parc des Princes have been at a standstill for over a year, with the situation becoming increasingly fractious. PSG is currently engaged in a 30-year lease deal for the Parc with the City, which is due to expire at the end of 2043.
PSG is owned by Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) and the club has been forthright in its belief that the acquisition of the stadium is essential to it conducting a proposed expansion from the current capacity of around 48,000 to 60,000.
The Council on Tuesday ruled that any redevelopment of the Parc “be carried out within the framework of an arrangement satisfactory to all parties but not involving its transfer”. Deputy for Sport, Pierre Rabadan, highlighted that the City had spent four years working on an expansion project between 2018 and 2022.
Speaking yesterday, Rabadan told the AFP news agency: “The door is still open. There will be no sale, but there are other solutions. They still have a contract until 2044… (and) cannot terminate the contract unilaterally.”
PSG last month opted against submitting a bid to buy the Stade de France in favour of turning its attention to renovating its current home or building a new stadium. PSG had until January 3 to submit a bid for the Stade de France, the 81,000-capacity stadium which serves as the home of France’s national football and rugby union teams.
It emerged in April last year that PSG was ready to bid for the Stade de France amid uncertainty over its future at the Parc des Princes, its home since 1974. Fin Infra, which advises public entities on the conduct of their investment projects, is currently operating a tender process to either secure a new operator for the Stade de France, or a buyer.
In December, private investment firm Arctos Partners acquired a minority stake in PSG. The deal includes support for the club’s real estate initiatives, and it is believed that the arrival of Arctos played a significant role in PSG’s decision to divert its attention away from the Stade de France.
In November, it emerged that PSG was continuing to explore plans for a major renovation of the Parc despite uncertainty over its future at the venue. The club in March launched a consultation with its fans over its stadium options.
PSG has spent €85m (£72.5m/$91.5m) in renovation work on the Parc in recent years, and has further committed €500m to improve and expand the stadium, increasing capacity from 48,000 to in excess of 60,000. However, PSG will only provide this funding if it owns the stadium.
Jérémy Redler, Mayor of the 16th arrondissement, the district in which the Parc is located, said he “regrets PSG’s decision to leave the Parc, for the Parc and for Paris”.
He added to Le Parisien: “I discover with regret the declarations of the president of PSG. Both for the City and for PSG. The declaration voted in Council was very clumsy, hence our abstention. Awkward because it closes a door, the sale, even before discussions are reopened. How to discuss in these conditions?”