Monday 17 June 2024, 14:00

Stade Pelé inaugurated in Paris with Gianni Infantino in attendance

  • Re-named stadium inaugurated in Paris benefitting the local community

  • FIFA President thanks local authorities and the Paris 13 Atletico club for the initiative

  • Gianni Infantino has suggested that venues around the world be named after Pelé

Gianni Infantino joined local families, dignitaries and members of the Paris 13 Atletico football club to celebrate the inauguration of the Stade Pelé in Paris, the latest venue to be named after the Brazilian legend following a request from the FIFA President. "Thank you for naming this stadium, in this beautiful Paris neighbourhood, Stade Pelé. Thank you, in particular, for what you’re doing in this neighbourhood, in this city, in this club, for all these boys and girls, so they can smile," said Gianni Infantino in an address during the event. "Bravo to the trainers, the children, the volunteers, the general manager, the president; everyone who invests their time – their free time, their weekends, their evenings, their mornings, their nights – to ensure these children can play football."

The proposal to adopt Pelé's name was made by Jérôme Coumet, Mayor of the 13th arrondissement of Paris, Aïmane Bassiouni, Deputy Mayor in charge of sport and youth, and Frédéric Pereira, President of Paris 13 Atletico which plays matches at the stadium. It was approved by the Council of Paris. The renamed stadium, previously known as Stade Boutroux, will undergo modernisation with a re-laid pitch, a new entrance, a refurbished stand for the public, new changing rooms and facilities for school groups, club members and the Paris 13 Atletico first team. Paris 13 Atletico are a major community club in France, with more registered players than any other club in the country.

"Pelé characterises that Brazil team who made us dream so it’s only right that his name has made its mark in this popular neighbourhood of Paris, and we’re delighted about that,” said Mr Coumet, who thanked Gianni Infantino for attending and said that his presence sent a strong message. “The new Pelé stadium will allow this beautiful club to grow because it will keep on developing." Meanwhile, Mr Pereira said: “One of the greatest football players of all time, gives his name to the Paris 13 Atletico stadium…….The city of Paris and the mayor have a bold and ambitious project which will lead to a new building, new stands, new changing rooms and more rooms for the club. It’s an exciting project which will allow Paris 13 Atletico to keep on playing in its own borough without having to battle for a pitch with other Parisian clubs.”

Following Pelé’s passing on 29 December 2022, Gianni Infantino suggested that at least one stadium or training facility should be named after the Brazilian legend in every FIFA Member Association and stadiums worldwide are now paying tribute to the Santos legend. These include Bello Horizonte “Rey Pelé” (Colombia), Rei Pelé (Guinea-Bissau), Pelé Stadium (Maldives) and Kigali Pelé Stadium (Rwanda), as well as the pitch at FIFA headquarters, Estadio Pelé – FIFA Zurich. "Football unites and Pelé united the world before everyone else. He was the first international star and first international football icon,” Mr Infantino added. “That’s why, when he passed away a year and a half ago, I made this plea: that everywhere in the world, children need to remember and know who Pelé was. That’s why I asked for a stadium, a site, to be named after Pelé everywhere in the world.”

Mr Infantino, who met Pelé and recalled the Brazilian’s “fantastic smile”, added: “We always need to remember what Pelé did for football and that’s why I wanted to be here today." Mr Infantino also congratulated Paris 13 Atletico on winning promotion this season to the Championnat National, the third tier of the French League system, and recalled that he had been in Paris on 21 May to celebrate the 120th anniversary of FIFA’s founding in the same city.