FIFA are reportedly considering taking over the Stade de France – a year after the venue is due to stage events at next year’s Olympics in Paris.
According to French newspaper L’Equipe, France’s President Emmanuel Macron and FIFA leader Gianni Infantino discussed the matter during a meeting at the Élysée Palace last month.
The venue was built by Bouygues Bâtiment Ile-de-France and Vinci in time for the 1998 FIFA World Cup and is owned by the French Government.
France’s Ministry of Sport has previously announced that it had no plans to extend the contract with Bouygues and Vinci when it is due to come to an end on June 30 next year.
It is reported by L’Equipe that the French Government was due to launch a call for tenders in February.
The 81,500-capacity Stade de France is worth around €600 million (£532 million/$637 million) but requires €400 million (£355 million/$425 million) for renovation work, according to L’Equipe.
Although FIFA has denied suggestions that it is mulling over a purchase of the stadium, Infantino is reportedly looking at the idea with a view to holding premium football events and is awaiting the call for tenders.
Infantino is close to Noël Le Graët, the FIFA President’s representative at the worldwide governing body’s office in Paris.
Le Graët has expressed his desire to stay in the role despite resigning as head of the French Football Federation amid allegations of sexual harassment.
The Stade de France is set to host athletics and rugby sevens competitions, as well as the Closing Ceremony of Paris 2024.
The arena is also the home of the French rugby team and is set to stage matches during this year’s Rugby World Cup, including the semi-finals and final.
It emerged in November 2022 that Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, the Qatari owner of French football club Paris Saint-Germain, was looking to purchase a stadium for the team to play in, with Paris 2024 venues Stade de France and Parc des Princes on the shortlist.
PSG currently lease the Parc des Princes, with a capacity of 47,929 and which is currently owned by Paris City Council.
They have rented the stadium since 1974, four years after the club was founded and in 2013 signed an extension until 2043.
Al-Khelaïfi wants to purchase the team’s home outright, recently offering €40 million (£34.5 million/$41.3 million) to the Paris City Council, which was firmly rejected.