France: Will PSG really leave Parc des Princes?

source:; author: Miguel Ciołczyk Garcia

France: Will PSG really leave Parc des Princes? A few days have passed since the surprising announcement of Les Parisiens' move out of Parc des Princes. Once emotions have (partially) cooled down, we can get down to a thorough analysis of events. What has happened and what is PSG playing at?


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Where did the conflict between the club and the city come from?

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaïfi had been trying for years to convince the city to sell off Parc des Princes to the club. One of the most important arguments was the €75 million invested in the facility since the start of the Qatari businessman's presidency in 2011.

There had already been speculation about moving to Stade de France or building a new stadium, but these were either conjectures or threats, or rather warnings to influence negotiations.

Mayor stands firm on Paris' rights to the Parc

Despite media and public pressure, the long-time mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, remained steadfast in defending the city's rights to the stadium as 'Parisians’ heritage'. On February 6, she was backed by the Paris City Council with votes of the left thanks and the abstention of right-wing politicians. At the same time, however, Hidalgo assured Le Parisien that she loved 'her' team and was ready to negotiate on further reforms at the Parc.

After Anne Hidalgo finally rejected the possibility of selling the Parc des Princes, club president Nasser Al-Khelaïfi set off a bomb during the 48th UEFA Congress in Paris, saying: It is 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, we want to move out from the Parc!

Parc des Princes© Chabe01 (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Bluff or serious stance?

While the French media disagree on whether Al-Khelaïfi is bluffing or has made his decision clear, L'Equipe reports that PSG has already started working on all possible options. The PSG president himself commented on the situation back in January for Le Parisien: We have investment plans, but we don't want to wait long. We can't wait five years.

If it was a bluff, however, it may have been partially effective, because after the words of the PSG president, the city began to emphasise its willingness to negotiate further. Emmanuel Gregoire, the city's deputy mayor, stated that PSG will never leave the Parc and announced they wanted negotiations to be moved behind the scenes instead of being conducted through the media.

What are PSG’s options?

PSG has 4 possible solutions at this point. The first is, of course, to negotiate an agreement with City Hall and stay at Parc des Princes. The second is to move to Stade de France, which was already considered years ago. The third option is to find yet another venue, and the last is to build a new arena from scratch somewhere near Paris.

According to reports in the French press, the latter is supported by the fact that a few months ago the investment fund Arctos Partners bought a 12.5 % stake in PSG for €500 million. This is said to indicate a desire to combine the construction of a new stadium with a commercial and construction project. The aim is to be an arena with a capacity of 60,000.

Parc des Princes© Like tears in rain (CC BY-SA 4.0)

There are already takers as Paris continues its fight

The mayor of the city of Aulnay-sous-Bois has announced that he would welcome such an investment on undeveloped land belonging to the city. 50 hectares are said to be ready for investment. He was thus supposed to be responding to a message from the president of the Ile-de-France region, Valérie Pécresse, who is supposed to be looking for mayors willing to host a PSG via...a group on Whatsapp.

This was met with a firm response from Paris City Hall. Dear Valérie, we have a stadium in Porte de Saint-Cloud that is ready to be renovated. If you think PSG should stay at Parc des Princes, you can help us instead of shooting us in the back, said Paris deputy mayor Emmanuel Grégoire.

Meanwhile, Anne Hidalgo was booed and taunted by some PSG fans during the match against Lille. There were also banners calling for the resignation of the city mayor and proclaiming that Hidalgo is killing Paris and its magic. Pierre Rabadan, in charge of sport at Paris City Hall, announced that he would take the matter of theoffensive and homophobic slogans to the French league and the courts.

On the Paris club's website under 'Parc des Princes' tab, we can still read: Paris Saint-Germain is inextricably linked to its legendary stadium, the Parc des Princes, where the history of the Red and Blue is written. However, it appears that PSG is ready to cut those ties and put the blame on the city. The termination of the contract, which runs until 2044, will cost the club €20 million.

Parc des Princes© DarDarCH (CC BY-SA 4.0)