Two days after the Paris City Council officially refused to sell the stadium, PSG boss Nasser al-Khelaifi announced on Thursday his intention to “move” from the Parc des Princes. It remains to be seen where and when the capital club could move.
A stunning exit. After the UEFA Congress in Paris on Thursday, PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi took the opportunity to speak to the press and respond to the Paris City Council, which voted against selling the Parc des Princes on Tuesday, February 6. For the Qatari leader, this decision will clearly lead to a move for the club. “It’s too easy to say now that the stadium is no longer for sale. We know what we want, we have wasted years trying to buy the Parc. It’s over now,” the leader told three French media outlets, including RMC Sport.
The Paris City Council, chaired by Mayor Anne Hidalgo, had reaffirmed the “ownership of the Parc des Princes to the city’s heritage,” once again refusing to sell the stadium to PSG. The municipal assembly, dominated by socialist and environmentalist elected officials, supported this position, demanding that the modernization of the sports complex “be carried out within the framework of an agreement that satisfies all parties but does not involve its transfer.” It should be noted that the right-wing abstained from the vote. Its members do not have a clear position on the subject. The idea for them is to keep all options on the table without talking about a sale.
The questions of timing and destination of a possible move remain. RMC Sport takes stock of this thorny issue.
Where could PSG move?
Wednesday’s statement by Nasser al-Khelaifi marks a new stage in the conflict between Paris Saint-Germain and the Paris City Hall, as PSG considers the acquisition of the Parc des Princes essential to carry out its expansion project to 60,000 seats – against around 48,000 seats currently. For the Parisian club, this is the only way to increase its revenue and remain competitive in Europe. But if PSG confirms its departure from the Parc, where could it move? The situation is very complicated.
If we simply consider the stadiums available in Paris or in the vicinity, the list is short: Charléty, Jean-Bouin and the Stade de France. Beyond the capacity problem of the first two, they belong to the Paris City Council. And given the relationship with PSG, it is impossible to imagine a sale. None of these options are being considered, nor is the Paris La Défense Arena, owned by Racing.
As for the Stade de France, it is no longer for sale. PSG could consider renting it while building another stadium, but this would only be an interim solution. As RMC Sport explained in January, PSG has started to think about building a stadium in the west of Paris.
One of the options mentioned was an interest in the Saint-Cloud racecourse. This project will never see the light of day, simply because this site is unbuildable and protected by the Local Urban Plan (PLU) in place since 2012. Some have also mentioned a solution at the Auteuil racecourse, which belongs to the Paris City Council and is operated by France Galop. A “totally impossible” solution, according to several sources. The fact that this place remains a racecourse is written in black and white in the contract with the city hall which runs until 2056. For the rest, the options mentioned come up against the question of transport and accessibility.
Not to mention the countless appeals and oppositions that the club would likely face on the issue of concreting and the usefulness of such a project in a tense environmental context. In recent weeks, the option of Montigny-le-Bretonneux has been making the rounds of the media. This commune in the Yvelines has a large enough space to accommodate the future PSG stadium.
On paper, this idea, close to the Vélodrome and the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines leisure center, seems attractive. But this place, under the management of the region, represents a great enigma for different interlocutors. “They have no awareness of transport,” a source close to the file told RMC Sport in January. Another added: “In the midst of an environmental crisis, concreting natural and partly protected soils, I wish them good luck.”