The future Porte de La Chapelle arena, the only permanent facility built specifically for the 2024 Olympics, will bear the name of the Adidas brand – it will be called Adidas Arena. This is the result of the vote obtained this Friday morning by the Parisian executive, against its environmentalist and communist allies. The challenge: a windfall of 2.6 million euros, as well as 260,000 euros in annual fees, to which is added a social fund of 182,000 euros per year, intended to finance local associations.
But for environmentalists and communists, who demanded, on the initiative of the president of the communist group, that the stadium be named after Alice Milliat – a French swimmer, hockey player and rower who organized the first Women’s World Games in Paris in August 1922 –, the pill is bitter.
“The next step is the metro stations! »
“Why is that a problem? I believe that the left, we are expected on consistency, on our values, and there is a long way to go, pleaded Friday Emile Meunier, from the environmental group. Now we’re feeding the sport business machine,entertainment. We defend ecology, and there what do we do? Feed this society of overconsumption. We send as a signal there is no alternative » [« Il n’y a pas d’alternative », le slogan de Margaret Thatcher, Première ministre britannique conservatrice connue pour sa rigueur budgétaire]and that when we make a public facility, we put a big mark on it, that’s it, it’s like that now! »
“It’s a practice straight out of the notebooks of liberalism. Basically, it’s about designing equipment like a money factory. the designation raises a question of a cultural nature, that of the sale of public spaces. Stadiums are urban landmarks that contribute to the cultural construction of the city. The Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice, the Matmut Atlantique in Bordeaux… designation have multiplied. The next step is metro stations, squares, libraries! Why not rename Porte Maillot Porte BNP? “, rose in the wake Nicolas Bonnet-Oulaldj, president of the communist group, who launched a petition against this designation.
“180,000 euros is not nothing! »
“We would all like to be able to do otherwise, giving the name of a company is never ideal”, “apologised” Maya Akkari, delegate of the mayor of the 18th district in charge of city policy and social centers. “In an ideal world perhaps we would have operated differently”, also recognized Anne Hidalgo’s sports assistant, Pierre Rabadan, in the Council of Paris, declaring “to hear the alerts of each other”.
But for the executive, it is impossible to give up the contract promised by Adidas: “180,000 euros is not nothing! exclaimed Maya Akkari. “Can we seriously imagine doing without these resources? “, Argued Emmanuel Koblenz, councilor of the 13th arrondissement.
An Alice Milliat esplanade
The right abstained, stressing that a wish had been adopted by the Council of Paris in July 2020, to assign the name of Alice Milliat. “We had voted for this possibility. You fall back on this denomination to the detriment of a sports figure because of your budget model ”, criticized in the assembly Rudolphe Granier, adviser to the Changer Paris group, elected in the 18th.
By way of compensation, an esplanade located just in front of the Arena will be named after the feminist pioneer, “who succeeded after more than 20 years of mobilization in having the participation of women in international games recognized”, as explained by in the precincts of the Council of Paris the elected PS Geneviève Garrigos. And a wish of the Communists was adopted – with slight amendments – for a work of art to be created on the esplanade “to pay tribute to the practice of women’s sport”. The executive also promises in response to this wish to organize a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the first women’s world games in the fall of 2022. But will that be enough for Parisians to register the name of Alice Milliat?