Paris Saint-Germain is at the Parc des Princes

Nasser al-Khelaïfi took advantage of his World Cup in Qatar to put pressure on the town hall of Paris concerning the Parc des Princes which the Parisian boss considers too small. For the president of PSG, the deal is simple: either the town hall of Paris agrees to sell the enclosure to the club in order to enlarge it, or QSI will look elsewhere.

It’s an open secret that has been going on for a while: QSI, the entity that bought Paris-SG in 2011, would like to expand the Parc des Princes, whose maximum capacity – 48,000 seats – does not correspond to the ambitions or to the new standing of the capital club. Except that PSG, and this is a rarity in top-level clubs, does not own its stadium, since it is the town hall of Paris who has the keys and who rents it for the very long term, via an emphyteutic lease, to the club of the capital. So after having invested 70 million euros to modernize the enclosure in ten years, the Qatari leaders want to spend the second: buy the Parc des Princes and do with it what they see fit. Understand to enlarge it and increase its capacity to at least 60,000 places.

“We spent 70 million euros to improve the Parc des Princes, but it is not our stadium. » Nasser al-Khelaifi

And as the club and the Parisian municipality cannot agree on the procedure to follow, Nasser al-Khelaïfi has just taken advantage of the media window linked to the World Cup to swing a blow of public pressure towards Anne Hidalgo and his team in an interview with Bloomberg: “PSG deserves a better stadium. My first option is not to move, but the city of Paris is pushing us to do so. We have spent 70 million euros to improve the Parc des Princes, but it is not our stadium. » It was enough to start the idea machine. Especially since, at the same time, the town hall of Paris provided the beginning of an answer through Emmanuel Grégoire, first deputy mayor, to Sud Radio: “Our priority option is not to sell the Park, but to stay on this long-term lease mode. Selling is clearly not our preference, and they know it at PSG. » It’s called a dead end.

Centralize everything in Poissy? The France’s stadium ?

So, what options are available to PSG? Build your own stadium, elsewhere. The site of Poissy, where the future training center is in the process of being created, is envisaged, to the delight of Karl Olive, the first magistrate of the city and avowed fan of the club: “Poissy has already shown its ability to find solutions when others kept communicating about the problems. So if we can be of service, we will be able to seize this extraordinary opportunity. » The other big idea is called the Stade de France, the enclosure of Saint-Denis, which has had no residents since its inauguration in 1998, despite its 80,000 seats. The stadium, which is state-owned, is looking for an owner and the idea of ​​​​playing PSG at the SDF is not new, since it was already a crazy rumor in the mid-1990s, which had given rise to a massive wave of protest within the Parc des Princes with a simple and direct slogan: “The Park is ours, Saint-Denis who cares. »

The Park is the PSG, the PSG is the Park

The bottom of the problem is perhaps there, in the visceral attachment of the Parisian public to the Parc des Princes. Because the Park, precisely, is the Park. Everything in the enclosure designed by the architect Roger Taillibert exudes football. Its name, already: The Parc des Princes. Its location then, in Paris, wedged between two stations of line 9 of the metro, the line which connects the 16e in Montreuil, and above the ring road. Above all, the Park has a mouth, a quickdraw, a posture, a color, a noise, a resonance, an echo, a soul, a story, an aura, an atmosphere. There is no equivalent in France or in the world.

And then the Park has known everything with PSG: the barrage against Valenciennes and the goal of the improbable Michel Marella to reach D1 for the first time in 1974, Francis Borelli who eats the lawn, the helmet shot of Antoine Kombouaré against Real Madrid, the goal of Vincent Guérin against Barça, the PSG-OM of 1999, the madness for the reception of Twente, the goal of Javier Pastore against Chelsea, the retirement of David Beckham, the tears of Rai, Lionel Messi , the Ronaldinho show against Bordeaux, the final of the Coupe de France against Nantes in 1983, PSG-Bucharest, the warm-ups of Marko Pantelić and Maxime Partouche, the scorpion of Coridon. The Park is also two distinct turns, with two atmospheres and two worlds which, after several years of friction, inevitably ended up colliding to completely explode and make the Leproux plan inevitable in 2010. Abandoned for a time, the stands du Parc have been making noise since 2016 at the same time as the basket was filled with world stars – Rihanna, Beyoncé, Michael Jordan – and the price of tickets exploded.

Do like everyone else…

The Parc des Princes is undoubtedly too small for the ambitions – marketing, financial and megalomaniac – of QSI, and it is fashionable to leave its historic enclosure to fall in love with an ultra modern stadium, since the Juventus, Bayern, Atlético de Madrid, Arsenal and Tottenham have recently been there, while Liverpool and Milan are also in the process of change, when, for their part, Real Madrid completely modernized the Bernabéu. But it is not because all the major clubs do it that we have to resolve to accept it without saying anything. PSG is at a crossroads, be satisfied with a historical, mythical, aesthetic and above all Parisian enclosure, but too narrow for the ambitions of its owners or put its threats into execution and build its own stadium, elsewhere, with this that this implies in the inevitable rupture with the hearts of certain romantics. While Paris Saint-Germain will soon leave Saint-Germain-en-Laye for Poissy, seeing him also leave Paris would respond to a certain form of logic. A very sad logic… But modern football is like that, it doesn’t care about feelings and just wants to dream bigger.

By Mathieu Faure

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