Paris (AFP)

The State, owner of the Stade de France, does not intend to prolong after 2025 the contract criticized that binds it to a private consortium for its exploitation and has again extended the pole to federations of football and rugby to find a new model.

"The decision was made and stopped not to renew the current concession," said Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu at a press briefing on the 2020 budget.

"Nothing new under the sun.Nobody wants to renew the concession as it exists," said the director general of the Consortium Stade de France, Alexandra Boutelier, in an interview with AFP.

This announcement is not a surprise, as the initial market was deemed unfavorable to public finances. Concluded on April 29, 1995, between the two rounds of the presidential election, this contract between the State and the Consortium Stade de France, formed by the construction giants Vinci and Bouygues, provided for the latter to build the compound in exchange for a 30-year concession.

But the state, which had invested 191 million euros of the 361 that cost the stadium, had to pay for years the equivalent of 115 million euros to the consortium, as compensation for absence of club resident.

Because the ship of Saint-Denis, where the Zidane Blues won their first football World Cup in 1998, has never found a team to its size and the forum hosts an average of 20 to 30 events per year. In total, public expenditure has amounted to € 778 million since 1995, the Court of Auditors noted at the end of 2018.

- no offer to buy -

The economic model of the Stade de France is also criticized for its fragmentation between different actors with divergent interests: the State, the consortium that exploits it and its users, federations of football and rugby or concert organizers.

A state-run study by Roland Berger and Wavestone, which the ministry aired on Friday, argues for a more integrated model, citing Wembley, owned by the English Football Federation, or rugby in Twickenham.

"The preferred solution is to entrust the concession to a private partner associated with federations", nuance one at the office of Roxana Maracineanu.

"The model, we have it in mind", also explains the DG of the Consortium to AFP. "Football and rugby are essential, you need concerts, clean production and esport". "We remain open for discussion," added Ms. Boutelier.

But are the federations really interested? An entry in the capital of the Stade de France appeared in the program of Bernard Laporte to be elected to the rugby federation in 2016. But "the resources that one releases, they have vocation to finance the rugby, not a possible deficit of "exploitation of the dionysienne enclosure, warned the treasurer of the FFR, Alexandre Martinez, in an interview with AFP early 2018. As for the French federation of football, she has always been cautious on the subject.

In this prospect of negotiation with the federations, the State leaves the door open to a pure and simple sale of the Stade de France, after the Olympics. Still, there must be a buyer. "For the moment, there has been no offer," said Roxana Maracineanu's cabinet.

The ministry said Friday that a "call for competition" would be "probably launched in 2022", but the future management model is not yet decided, while in November 2018, the government promised to rule on these " principles "by the end of 2019.

"We are not in the emergency," timed Roxana Maracineanu.

The choice arises as the Stade de France will be at the heart of the Olympic Games in Paris-2024. In this perspective, the consortium had proposed to the State XXL renovation of the enclosure, aging, up to 450 million euros, promising to release the checkbook as part of a continuation of the concession.

The government had already declined this job offer deemed to be pharaonic. The state has planned to invest 50 million euros to refresh the enclosure by 2024.

"In 2025, we will have to renovate the Stade de France if we want to remake an iconic stadium," said Alexandra Boutelier. "If it's not with the state money, it has to be someone else and the model has to allow it to amortize its investment," she added.

© 2019 AFP