French football champions Paris Saint-Germain have threatened to quit the Parc des Princes ground which has been their home for nearly 50 years after city officials refused to sell the stadium to the club.
On Sunday, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the stadium “is not for sale” and “will not be sold” to Qatari-owned PSG.
A spokesperson for the club said it was “disappointed and surprised” that Paris wanted to “turn Paris Saint-Germain and their supporters out of the Parc des Princes”.
“The mayor is forcing PSG to leave its home,” the spokesperson said. “Everyone loses in the position taken by the mayor. PSG is now forced to find alternative options to relocate the club. This is not the outcome the club, nor its supporters, were hoping for.”
PSG reportedly made an offer last year to buy the club. The club has also made the acquisition of the ground in the city’s leafy western suburbs a condition for carrying out modernisation and expansion works to the tune of 500 million euros ($542m).
The spokesperson added that PSG’s proposed investment would only be made if they owned the stadium.
“It is regrettable the Mayor is now suddenly foreclosing – definitively – the sale discussions we’ve been having for a long time, with the club now sadly forced to advance alternative options for our home, which is not the outcome the club or our fans were hoping for,” the spokesperson said.
In November last year, club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi told Spanish sports daily Marca that PSG was “no longer welcome” at the Parc des Princes, adding that they were looking at “other alternatives”.
“They are pressuring us to leave,” he said, highlighting that the Qataris had “invested 80 million euros” before Euro 2016 in a stadium that “is not ours”.
The club has already put in one offer to buy the ground but according to Hidalgo’s deputy Emmanuel Gregoire, it only amounted to 40 million euros ($43m).
“It’s cheaper than Paredes,” he joked in reference to the Argentinian midfielder Leandro Paredes who cost PSG 47 million euros ($50.9m) when he joined in 2019.
The mayor’s team has said it is ready to discuss the ground issue, even if the sale is not her “priority option”.
“We must support PSG in its desire and its need for renovation, for increasing capacity, for modernising the Parc,” she said, adding that “part of the stadium is on the ring road so we cannot dig”.
Inaugurated in 1897, then remodelled in 1972, the former velodrome, with its 48,000 capacity, has been home to the Parisian club since 1974.
In 2013, PSG reached an agreement with the Paris City Council to extend their lease until 2043, after which they completed a 75 million euro ($81.2m) upgrade of the stadium over the course of three years.
PSG has been the most successful football club in France since Qatar Sports Investments took over in 2011, winning the league eight times. It has also had success in France’s domestic cup competitions but has failed to win the Champions League.
Last year, Paris banned showing Qatar World Cup matches on giant screens in public fan zones, citing concerns over violations of migrant worker rights and the environmental impact of the tournament.
Qatar has repeatedly denied the accusations.
The final of the tournament – which France lost to Argentina on penalties – was attended by French President Emmanuel Macron.