“Ligue 1 will arrive when it arrives, I hope it will be in May”
Since its 1-0 victory against Caen on April 19, Paris FC is guaranteed to finish « at worst » 5th in Ligue 2 this season and to play in the playoffs to hope, in the end, to move up to Ligue 1. of this match, we met Pierre Ferracci, the president of the Parisian club, at the training center of Orly. The opportunity to directly discuss this objective of ascent, the Charléty stadium and the changes he intends to make there, as well as the difficulty of finding a place in the capital alongside PSG.
One day before the end of the season, Paris FC is guaranteed to play in the Ligue 2 playoffs for the third time in four years. This time, can experience tip the scales in the right direction?
“We believed in second place, even if we suspected that Ajaccio would be difficult to get. The objective, otherwise, was third place (Auxerre is 3rd with a four-point lead), because it would have taken away a pre-game match and would allow us to receive. Experience and desire can pay off at some point. These are still cleaver matches where you need a little bottle, and we have players like Iglesias, Boutaib who have it, or players like Demarconnay, Lopez who have already played in the play-offs with us. »
With this format of playoffs, the rise in Ligue 1 is almost impossible? Especially when you’re fourth or fifth?
“I am convinced that this year it is a Ligue 2 club which will emerge victorious from the play-offs with the 18th in Ligue 1, whoever it is. And we believe in Ligue 1 this year! »
“We need a deep renovation” of the Charléty stadium
In the event of a rise in Ligue 1, what will be the first major project for Paris FC?
“Quickly bring Charléty up to standard, of course. There are things to do in terms of reception and security. But it’s not very difficult in reality, to make it a standard stadium to play there. The real project will be to rebuild it and make it a stadium with Ligue 1 standings. I told the Paris City Hall that the day Paris FC will be in Ligue 1, we can spend a year or two under these conditions. but not more. We would lose a lot of revenue. There are no dressing rooms for partners. It’s rubbish. And for the supporters, it is not attractive, we are too far from the field. It needs a major renovation. The problem is not so much financial, it is the play of the actors. Between the Paris City Hall, the Athletics Federation, the PUC (Paris University Club, an omnisports club that also uses the structure). I start from the principle that if we go to Ligue 1 it is to maintain ourselves, not to tinker with our stadium all the time. »
Charléty is also part of the low average attendance in Ligue 2…
“I am the first to say that we cannot commune properly in our stadium. This is not a stadium made for football. But it feels good there, because a lot of things have been built there lately. Today we have about 4,000 spectators, but in Ligue 1 it won’t be too difficult to quickly exceed 10,000. In fact, Charléty has 17,000 spectators. Afterwards, if we manage to transform the stadium, I hope that we will increase this capacity. »
Can you say more about this stadium redesign project?
“All I can say is that we have a project that could go very quickly and would not be incompatible with continuing to play there. Afterwards, everything depends on what we are allowed to do. Then, if you have to go into exile for a while, that’s the price to pay. We will find a solution. If you have to go to Le Mans to play, you can go back there*, it hasn’t served us too well this season anyway (a victory against Ajaccio and a draw against Le Havre). It’s a beautiful stadium, just what we need in Paris. A great tool, a stadium close to the players and remarkable reception conditions. »
Already, whether you are in Ligue 2 or Ligue 1, the lawn of the Charléty stadium should evolve?
“Yes, the Paris City Hall has agreed to put a hybrid lawn between the two seasons. It may complicate the deal in August, but it was time. We still have a better pitch at Orly for training than at Charléty for playing. »
“This team no longer fears anything in Ligue 2”
With a club like PSG right next door, shouldn’t it be easy to find your audience?
“In Paris you don’t exist in National, you start to exist in Ligue 2 and you really exist in L1. PSG monopolizes everything, it’s true. But, since the time we talk about a derby in Paris, it would be nice. Then, I think we can find our audience. We will have to think of strategies, why not attract the provincials. Once a year they will come to support their team, Nantes, OM, Lyon, Rennes, against us. And the rest of the year, if you like football, come and support us (laughs). »
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In 2015, you said during the club’s first climb to Ligue 2, that the objective was « Ligue 1 within 4 years »…
“And we went back down (in National) immediately! I had underestimated at the time the impact of infrastructure on the life of the club. We have the chance to come back immediately, then we put 9 million euros into the creation of our training center. Since we’ve been at Orly, we’ve come a long way. Whether it is for girls, for boys, at the level of the training center. Before, a coach had said one day “Paris FC is a homeless club”, we wandered all over Paris, without a real house. N3s had better facilities than us. Players were running away, seriously, when they visited our facilities. Today, we seduce them. I think this team no longer fears anything in Ligue 2. We have to settle down, continue to train young people, and Ligue 1 will arrive when it arrives. I hope it will be in May. 14th or 29th.
*This season, after the incidents during the Coupe de France match between Paris FC and OL, the Parisian club had been sanctioned with two matches of suspension from the field and had to go and play at the MMArena in Le Mans.