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French Open Upgrade In Jeopardy Following Paris Ruling

March 01, 2013

Roland Garros’s proposed expansion may be in jeopardy after a Parisian administrative tribunal called for an agreement between the city and the French tennis federation to be terminated, Agence-France Presse said.

The Paris City Council gave permission for a 273 million euros ($354 million) upgrade of the existing site, home to the world’s only clay-court tennis major, in 2011.

The tribunal today ruled that to be illegal because information given was “insufficient” at the time of voting and that the fee paid by the French Tennis Federation was too little given the amount of cash it would make from the upgrade, AFP said.

The French Tennis Federation will issue a statement later in the day or tomorrow, a spokeswoman said today when asked to comment on the situation.

The French Open has been played on the red clay courts of Roland Garros, located on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne in the 16th arrondissement of the French capital, since 1928.

Originally covering eight acres of land with five courts, Roland Garros now has 20 outside courts spread over 21 acres. Still, it remains the smallest of the four tennis majors, and players, press and spectators frequently complain about its lack of space.

Under the 2011 plans, the expanded site would cover almost 35 acres and include 35 outside courts, a new 5,000-seat stadium and a new press center. The main Philippe Chatrier court would be redesigned and feature a retractable roof.

Organizers had been considering alternative venues after plans announced in the spring of 2009 to build a new 120 million-euro stadium near Roland Garros stalled because of a lack of consensus among local politicians.

Among the options were: moving the tournament close to the Palace of Versailles; to a location in Marne-la-Vallee, where Disneyland Paris is based; or to Gonesse, close to Charles de Gaulle airport.

In 2011, the French federation backed a fourth possibility that was a variation on the 2009 plan. Under a joint proposal by the FFT and the mayor of Paris, the existing grounds were to be renovated and a small stadium court built in the neighboring municipal greenhouses at the Jardin des Serres.

The City of Paris owns the Roland Garros site.

To contact the reporters on this story: Danielle Rossingh at the London sports desk;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at the London sports desk

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