France venues’ contract issue raises eyebrows



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Paris 2024 procurement issues Image: Paris 2024

The French Court of Auditors has expressed concern at the failure to finalize a contract for the Stade de France and other venues at the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics.

‘inside the games’ stated that the stadium in Saint-Denis in Paris, France, which is set to hold more than 77,000 spectators at the Games, is scheduled to host athletics, rugby sevens and Para athletics events during Paris 2024.

The French Court of Auditors is France’s supreme audit institution, under French law an administrative court. As such, it is independent from the legislative and executive branches of the French Government.

The Stade de France is the national stadium of France, located just North of Paris in the commune of Saint-Denis. Its seating capacity of 80,698 makes it the sixth-largest stadium in Europe. The stadium is used by the France national football team and the France rugby union team for international competition.

The Paris 2024 Games will be the biggest sporting event ever organized in France. This event is set to take place over 12 magical days from August 28th to September 8th, 2024, bringing together 4,400 of the world’s most outstanding Paralympic athletes. The Paralympic Games now rank among the largest sporting events in the world, with each edition attracting more and more interest from the general public.

The Paralympic Games are more than just a sporting event – they offer a unique opportunity to shine a spotlight on sport and disability, inspire individuals, bring about social change, and promote inclusive professional and sports opportunities for people with disabilities. The Paralympic Games will see all of France embark on an adventure unlike anything it has experienced before.

‘inside the games’ further stated that however, negotiations with the Stade de France to secure an agreement on its usage for Paris 2024 were interrupted in November last year due to “substantial differences”, according to a report presented by the Court of Auditors to the Parliament.

The Paris Organising Committee wants to secure usage of the Stade de France for a period of non-exclusivity from March 15th to June 1st, 2024, before a period of exclusivity from June 1st to September 20th.

The Paris 2024 Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games is responsible for planning, organizing, financing, and delivering the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris in 2024, in accordance with the Host City Contract signed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF) and the Paris City Council.

At this stage of negotiations, Paris 2024 would be expected to pay €12.6 million (£11.2 million/$13.7 million) in rent for the Stade de France and €3.8 million (£3.4 million/$4.1 million) in technical costs.

The main stumbling block is that Paris 2024 may be required to provide “tens of millions of euros” in compensation for football matches, rugby matches and concerts unable to take place during the period of exclusivity.

The Court of Auditors has urged agreements with sites intended to be used for Paris 2024 to be finalized early this year, reporting that “only 11 of the 80 user agreements planned had been signed”.

It said that this represented “an operational risk and a financial risk” to the Games.

Paris 2024 has insisted that it is unconcerned at the pace of negotiations for the various venues – “We have no concerns about our ability to sign the provisional contracts on time. The negotiation takes time because the delivery is complex. But we are on time.”

The Organising Committee added that it aimed to secure contracts “under the best economic and operational conditions”, and pointed towards agreements already reached.

Paris 2024 said, “For contracts already signed, in general, between the first offer and the signature, we won between 30 and 60 percent of the proposed price.”

The Stade de France is one of the key venues planned for usage at next year’s Olympics and Paralympics.

It was built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup™, and has also held matches at the 1999 and 2007 Rugby World Cups, for which it is set to be used again as a venue later this year.

The 2003 World Athletics Championships, the 2016 Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) European Championship Final and UEFA Champions League Finals in 2000, 2006 and 2022 are among the other major events held at the Stade de France.

It stepped in to replace the 68,000-capacity Saint-Petersburg stadium in Saint Petersburg, Russia, as the host for last year’s Champions League Final, but the match between the LaLiga club Real Madrid CF (Spain) and the Premier League team Liverpool F.C. (UK) was marred by disturbing images and videos of bottlenecks, crushes and the indiscriminate use of pepper spray on supporters.

Kickoff was delayed by more than 30 minutes, and fans were also victims of crime outside the ground, including robberies and assaults.

The French authorities and the police were heavily criticized for their handling of the match, and it raised security concerns for Paris 2024, with a French Senate report urging relevant bodies to “draw the necessary lessons”.

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