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28 september 2017
Feedback for the public authorities
In hosting Euro 2016, France sought to demonstrate its ability to hold one of
the largest international sports competitions. The dual challenge of providing
sports and transportation facilities tailored to the tournament’s needs and
running a successful event was easily met, in a manner acknowledged to have
been highly satisfactory and in an environment that had nonetheless become
critical from a security standpoint.
The Cour des comptes and the six relevant regional courts of audit did not
attempt to conduct another economic assessment of this event but rather
focused their investigations on how the government support needed for the
competition was implemented and on the financial risks that the local
authorities face in managing expanded and renovated sports arenas.
The report consists of a general overview and of area-based analyses detailing,
for each of the 10 host cities, the conditions for financing and operating the
Euro 2016 stadiums.
Tournament organisation: a public success but with an imbalance
of power exacerbated by the implementation conditions
While the
Fédération française de football
was supposed to have been the Euro 2016
organising authority, in reality the UEFA controlled the entire event due to unilateral
“contractual” arrangements. The i
nstitutional and legal quality of the overall
arrangements applied to Euro 2016 was poor. Many of the commitments made
derogated from ordinary law, and some had financial consequences: free law
enforcement assistance for the central government, loss of fees for the use of public
facilities (fan zones) and loss of sales revenues for the local authorities. The imbalance
of power between the UEFA and the host country does not necessarily mean that the
public authorities should be quite so marginalised. The public interest group option,
which the central government did not support, would nevertheless likely have better
the protection of the public interest and the state’s financial control. In the
absence of such a structure, it is difficult to retroactively measure the total cost of
holding the competition, but the net public expenditure, including the cost of tax
exemptions, is estimated at approximately EUR 162 million. There is a clear imbalance
between the profits the UEFA received (about EUR 847 million, or a 44% profit margin)
and the payments made to certain national stakeholders. It would be advisable for
states to cooperate to limit the demands of the international sports bodies.
Tournament venues: a significant public investment
but with new management risks for cities
The consequences of the large increases in stadium capacity, sometimes beyond the
needs of the competition, heighten the operating risk for the local authorities (need for
higher attendance and diversified activities) which, except in Lyon, continue to own the
sports arenas. They must also adjust the fees paid by the resident clubs to use these
expanded public facilities. Calibrating the investments more closely to the UEFA's
expectations would have reduced future operating risks and the pressure on fees.
With respect to the Stade de France, the confusing conditions governing its availability,
which have resulted in a dispute in which the central government is reluctantly involved,
demonstrate the failures of the initial scoping of the respective responsibilities of the
various Euro 2016 stakeholders, and the UEFA’s ability to disclaim any obligation
relating to its demands.
The persistence of the municipal stadium model means that the economic risk arising
from sports
unpredictability remains in the public sphere, for arenas used primarily by
private clubs. In that respect, the only exceptions are the cities of Lyon and, to a lesser
extent, Bordeaux. Euro 2016 therefore did not provide an opportunity to reform the
economics of the major venues.
The financial courts have made four recommendations that aim in particular to:
1. adjust, in view of the investments made, the fees owed by the professional clubs
that own the arenas;
2. estimate a projected public cost for major international sports events and develop
a framework for assessing the impact on their economic spin-offs from the
candidacy stage;
3. create a standing committee on organisation, chaired at the Prime Minister level,
to facilitate cooperation between public and private partners, and mediate the role
of the inter-ministerial delegation for major sporting events;
manage the event in such as way as to involve public stakeholders (public interest
group), facilitate transparency in the expenditure incurred by each partner and
incorporate a profit-sharing mechanism that is commensurate with the financial
Read the report
Ted Marx
Head of communication
+33 (0)1 42 98 55 62
Denis Gettliffe
Head of Press Relations
+33 (0)1 42 98 55 77