PSG unveil plans for stadium expansion
Paris Saint-Germain have revealed their renovation plans for the Parc des Princes to provide themselves with a home befitting their newly-elevated status.
Following this season's final home game against Brest on May 18 work will begin on the stadium, which took on its current form after a near-two-year facelift in 1972, and is scheduled to finish prior to the 2015-16 campaign at the end of which the ground will stage Euro 2016 matches.
"It's about improving the quality of a good number of areas of the stadium with an emphasis on design and aesthetics," Jean-Claude Blanc, PSG's managing director, told Le Parisien. "We'll play at the Parc throughout the work. We won't close any of the stands nor will any games be played elsewhere."
The work, which will cost Qatari owners Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) an estimated €75 million, will focus on four areas: two extra rows of seats will be installed to bring fans closer to the pitch; a panoramic viewing area of 500 square metres will be built high in the Borelli Stand with the aim of encouraging families to attend games; the number of VIP seats will be increased from its current 2,000 to 4,500 come Euro 2016; and the dressing rooms will be made bigger.
"You have to compare it with the best in Europe," said Blanc, who was a driving force behind the construction of Juve's new stadium while CEO of the Turin club. "Right now, the surface area of the Parc des Princes dressing rooms is about a third of that of Juventus. Teams move about with more and more equipment, there are more backroom staff and they need more space for medical care. We're going to optimise every existing square metre."
The close proximity of housing and consequent opposition from residents, and the main Paris ring road, the Peripherique, which runs right under the stadium, are both obstacles to QSI's stated ambition of increasing capacity beyond the current 45,000 seats. A move to the 81,000-capacity Stade de France, based in Paris' northern suburbs, has often been mooted, but has been met with opposition from Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe and the club's fans. Blanc remains determined, however, to push through plans to increase the Parc's capacity post-Euro 2016.
"We want to find solutions to allow us to go from a capacity of 45,000 to 60,000," he said, though Le Parisien cited studies claiming a maximum of only 55,000 would be possible.
The capital-based daily also quoted Roger Taillibert, the architect of the stadium's last renovation, as saying: "I don't see how it's possible with the tunnel of the Peripherique underneath. It's as if you wanted to have 200,000 seats at the Stade de France."