PSG upset after Paris mayor says its stadium is not for sale

Sports

PARIS (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain was surprised and disappointed after city Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the club’s Parc des Princes home was not for sale.

That meant PSG will not be able to buy its own ground outright.

PSG benefits from a long-term lease there but wants to buy its stadium. But Hidalgo said in an interview with readers of Paris-based newspaper Le Parisien that this will not happen.

“The Parc des Princes is not for sale. And it will not be sold. This is a firm and definitive position. It’s an exceptional heritage for Parisians,” Hidalgo said. “Of course we need to help PSG with their desire and need to renovate, increase the capacity and modernize the Parc des Princes. . . . But let’s remember the restrictive context: Part of the stadium is located above the beltway so we can’t dig downwards.”

Formed in 1970, PSG began playing at Parc des Princes two years later. The club owned by cash-rich Qatari backer QSI sees owning its stadium as a crucial part of development, and fears it may have to look elsewhere.

“It is surprising and disappointing to hear that the mayor of Paris is taking a position which, effectively, will force PSG, our fans and communities (away) from the Parc des Princes,” PSG said on Saturday, adding that such a move would add “tens of millions of euros of the taxpayer(‘s) burden to maintain the structure of the building which is now 50 years old.”

PSG added it has already invested more than 85 million euros ($92 million) in the stadium maintenance costs and is committed to investing a further 500 million ($542 million) in renovations, in order for PSG to compete with other clubs at the highest level in Europe.

“Obviously, this enormous investment would only be made by PSG (or any party) if we actually own Parc des Princes,” PSG said. “It is regrettable that 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 (seek) alternative options for our home, which is not the outcome the club or our fans were hoping for.”

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