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Volume 6 No. 217


The "two primary candidates to become the mayor of Paris, socialist Anne Hildago and conservative Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, are open to selling the Parc des Princes stadium," the home of Ligue 1 Paris St. Germain, to the club's owner, Qatar Sport Investments, according to the EFE. Both Hidalgo and Kosciusko-Morizet "would consider negotiating with Qatar Sport Investments about the sale of the stadium, which currently belongs to the French capital." For Hidalgo, "the most important thing is that PSG remain in Paris." Hidalgo: "The Paris City Council did not say not to touch the stadium, it has just been opposed to the possibility of destroying the stadium and rebuilding a bigger one" (EFE, 2/3).

Atlético Madrid has received calls from many fans to name the club's new stadium -- La Peineta -- after former Atlético coach Luis Aragonés, who died on Saturday, according to MARCA. There "have been numerous displays of condolences for Aragonés, but there is one particular message with a lot of popular support." The idea is to "name the stadium currently being built the 'Estadio Luis Aragonés,' with the intention creating a long-lasting honor for the former coach." Fans "from all parts of Spain are pushing for this recognition, and the amount of support is continuing to grow" (MARCA, 2/2). AS reported Atlético CEO Miguel Angel Gil said of "possibly naming the club's new stadium" after Aragonés, "He is an important person, and there have been other names of players who have made history. Unfortunately we remember people more when we begin to miss them" (AS, 2/3).

Barcelona Economic VP Javier Faus on Monday said that the club's "new Camp Nou ground will make the Catalan capital the envy of cities the world over," according to Dermot Corrigan of ESPN. Barça "announced last month that the club's members would vote on whether to accept" the board's plan for a €600M ($811M) "redevelopment of the entire Camp Nou complex, with the vote being held in early April." Faus "showed off images" of how the new -- fully covered -- Camp Nou "might look, although these were just possibilities" given the plan is to hold a design competition in '16, once the vote "was passed this year and funding for the project put in place" in '15. Construction would then begin in May '17, with "everything completed" by Feb. '21 (ESPN, 2/3).

An early buyout of Melbourne's second Australian Football League venue, Etihad Stadium, is "seen by tenant clubs as critical to their ability to compete on equal footing with the competition's powerhouse clubs," according to Greg Denham of THE AUSTRALIAN. As part of its "equalisation program, the league is endeavouring to take control of Etihad Stadium, which is owned by a private consortium," in advance of its handover to the AFL in '25. In the "hands of the league, the Docklands stadium's tenant clubs who traditionally struggle -- North Melbourne, the Western Bulldogs and St Kilda -- have been promised better financial deals in line with other Victorian clubs" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/4). In Sydney, Patrick Smith wrote it is "just one of several dramatic measures the AFL has been prepared to investigate to close the dangerously widening gap between the league's rich and poor clubs." Last year the AFL and the fund managers who own Etihad came "desperately close to settling the sale." While the negotiations have "cooled monentarily, the stadium remains a premier target for the AFL." On "face value, the early settlement of the media rights package -- not due to run out" until the end of '16 -- is seen as the "most direct and beneficial way of shrinking the gap between the competition's rich and poor clubs." Property and "management experts put the current value" of Etihad Stadium -- built at a cost of A$460M ($403M) -- at around A$250M "and it is on the market." However, one source said that there "still remained" at least a A$10M difference "between the asking price and what the AFL was prepared to pay" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/4).