After booking a surprise ninth-placed finish Ligue 1 Conforama in their first season in the elite since 1993, Nîmes Olympique will soon become the owner of their own stadium - a structure that will soon be torn down to make way for a new 15,100-seat arena.
Club president Rani Assaf and Nîmes mayor Jean-Paul Fournier announced on Wednesday an agreement for the sale of the Stade des Costières complex for a fee in the region of €8 million, as indicated by Fournier.
Delivery in 2025
"Professional football has become about putting on a spectacle. We have been working with architects for almost two years. Today, we have a project that holds up well, entirely financed with our own money. I hope we will be playing in our new home by the end of 2024 - beginning of 2025. A temporary stadium - Mas de Vignolles - will be built," Rani Assaf said. This modular stadium should have a capacity of 10,000 seats, all covered.
"The stadium will arrive in 2025. Will the club stay in Ligue 1 Conforama until then? I hope so. We're going to do everything we can to make that the case," said the NO president, making clear his intention to lead Les Crocodiles for the long haul. "I'm not investing several million euros to then leave the club directly afterwards."
While the current stadium is, according to the mayor of the city, "no longer suitable for the development of Nîmes Olympique", the capacity of the new stadium will be 15,100 - down from the 18,364-seat capacity of the current structure.
"We must return from the madness of grandeur. We have built huge stadiums and we can't make them profitable," said President Rani Assaf before scotching suggestions of a naming sponsor for the arena. "I am committed; there will be no naming. I hate that. I hate that. A stadium is not a brand."
"The club will be the operator of the stadium; the goal is to generate income from events, seminars and catering. The club will operate the new stadium 365 days a year," continued Rani Assaf, also indicating that this project should create 1,500 jobs in the construction sector over three years. A detailed presentation of the project is scheduled for mid-July.