Stade de France: the State will launch the process for a sale or a concession

The future of the Stade de France will begin to take shape. The State will launch calls for applications next week to sell the enclosure or grant a new concession for the summer of 2025, the entourage of the Minister of Sports said on Friday. The State will thus publish two calls for applications in parallel: one for potential buyers and one for companies interested in operating this stadium, which has hosted sporting and cultural events for 25 years. Since 1995, it is a consortium made up of the two giants of the French construction industry Vinci and Bouygues (respectively 2/3 and 1/3), builders of the stadium, which operates the enclosure located in Saint-Denis created for the World Cup of football 1998.

Signed in a hurry between the two rounds of the 1995 presidential election, the current concession contract ends in July 2025 and has caused a lot of ink to flow, lawyers’ fees and public funds. In reality, the State, owner of the stadium, a rarity in the world of sport, has been thinking about the future of the Stade de France for several years with the idea in the background that the chosen model costs it less.

Between 400 and 600 million euros

In 2018, former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe did not rule out an assignment and promised to “decide on the main principles of the system by the end of 2019”. Since then reports and studies have piled up and nothing has changed. Difficult to find the right recipe to manage this enclosure of 80,000 people which needs a facelift. Difficult including to evaluate its price. According to a source familiar with the matter, it would be worth between “400 and 600 million euros”. So far few buyers have come forward openly. Last fall, the president of PSG Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, in bickering with the city of Paris which does not want to sell him the Parc des Princes, raised his finger to buy the enclosure of Saint-Denis. But this scenario of a PSG playing at the Stade de France leaves many people incredulous.

Also presented as interested in a press article this week, the International Football Federation (Fifa) denied being to AFP. A few weeks ago, several sources close to the executive indicated that the hypothesis of a sale remains “weak”. Whether it is a takeover or a concession, the applications could be identified “by the end of April” with a “delivery of the first offers in the fall”. The process will continue throughout 2024, the year that will see the Stade de France install a new athletics track for the Paris Olympics in the summer. The new owner or dealer will likely not be known until 2025.

“Keep the sporting vocation of the equipment”

“The state has fallen behind, it cannot do the procedures one after the other before the end of the current concession so it is launching both at the same time”, deciphers a source familiar with the matter to AFP. In a report dedicated to the Olympics published in January, the Court of Auditors was moved that the case dragged on. Faced with the hypothesis of a call for tenders in the spring of 2023, she judged that “this calendar is the most unfavorable for the State which, as in 1995, will find itself under pressure from both candidates and sports federations”. For the moment, the consortium which manages the Stade de France, has not revealed its intentions.

The idea is to “preserve the sporting vocation of the equipment” and at the same time “preserve the economic and financial interests of the State”, said the entourage of Amelie Oudéa-Castéra. “The state will not sell off any of this equipment,” we warn from the same source. The French Football and Rugby Federations (FFF and FFR), which play a number of matches there, have been informed of the launch of the process and should be more involved, according to several sources. Between the initial legal disputes, the compensation for the absence of a resident club paid until 2013, the various compensations as recently for the works of the RER B, the Stadium has cost the State dearly.

And it will still cost money for the Olympics. To compensate for the cessation of activities, for works, from December 1, 2023, the invoice – “quantified in tens of millions of euros” according to the Court of Auditors – should be shared between the State and the committee of organization of the Olympics.

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