French government open to selling the Stade de France to a foreign group

PSG, a club owned by Qatar (QSI), said it was going to apply to take it over. Asked by senator Laurent Lafon whether the French state, owner of the stadium, could sell its “sporting emblem” to “a structure belonging to a foreign state”, Oudéa-Castéra therefore did not exclude it.

If there “should be an investor who meets the conditions around protecting the structure’s integrity, which in the context of a transfer would in any case be fixed by law, or if this foreign investor were to participate as part of a group of operators, there is no there is no reason to dismiss it out of hand and on principle,” she said during a question and answer session in the Senate.

The Minister reiterated that the State was looking for “the best long-term project” by keeping “the sporting vocation of the stadium” and by “preserving the economic and financial interests of the State.” Asked also about the role of the football and rugby federations, she replied that they were “free to apply, free to associate with a candidate, free to negotiate conditions for use of the stadium. What is important is that they can exchange with all the candidates in compliance with fairness and competition law.” she added.

The State published the two calls for tenders on March 7th with a deadline for submission of applications by April 27th at 12:00 p.m., according to the documents consulted by the AFP, and includes among the conditions the need to “demonstrate the ability to oversee a minimum base of functions…”

The offers submitted, both for the transfer and for a licensing, will be studied in 2024, for a probable election of the new owners or contractors in 2025. Since 1995, the Stade de France has been overseen by a consortium made up of the two French construction giants Vinci and Bouygues (respectively two thirds and one thirds each) who operate the stadium created for the 1998 Football World Cup. The value of the Stade de France is estimated at €647m, according to the 2021 State filing. But this is a strictly an accounting valuation, relating to construction and maintenance costs. The actual purchase value that the State would ask for, according to Le Parisien, is lower than this sum.

James Thorpe | GFFN

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