Paris - Local authorities in France on Monday blocked Nantes' plans to build a
new stadium next door to their current publicly-owned ground following
the launch of a fraud probe into the Ligue 1 club's owner.
France's finance prosecutor announced on February 20 that they had
opened the investigation into Waldemar Kita, a day after the side's
training centre, the Paris headquarters of Kita's Vivacy business and
the 65-year-old's home were searched as part of the investigation.
In December the Nantes' metropolitan government had decided to sell a
nine-hectare plot next to the Stade de la Beaujoire to Nantes, of whom
Kita took charge in 2007.
"Beyond the tensions, the opposition or the question marks that this
project has provoked, the announcement of a preliminary inquiry by the
national finance prosecutor into Mr Waldemar Kita makes it impossible
for us to transfer the public pitch for his profit," the local
government said in a statement.
The new stadium, which was set to be completed by 2022 ahead of
hosting games at the Rugby World Cup the following year, has a planned a
capacity of 40 000 and an expected cost of €200 million.
"Without wishing to prejudice the remainder of the investigation its
clear the project in any case cannot be rolled out in the envisaged time
frame or in a serene atmosphere, whatever the eventual outcome," the
The announcement is another blow to Nantes, following the death in
January of the club's former striker Emiliano Sala in an air crash after
signing for Premier League club Cardiff City.