Stade de France – the main venue for the 2016 European Championship

Paris - Stade de FranceParis - Stade de France 10.07.2016: The French national stadium, situated north of the centre of Paris, in the district of Saint-Denis, was built principally to provide venue for the 1998 World Cup. With a capacity of 81,000 seats it became the largest stadium in France and the main venue for the World Cup matches. The stadium hosted nine matches, including the opening match and the final. It will play a similar role during EURO 2016.

The very first European Championship was also played in France – in 1960. Moreover, France hosted the 1984 European Championship, which makes the current 15th European Championship the third event of its kind taking place on French ground. So far, only two countries hosted Euro twice – Italy in 1968 and 1980, and Belgium in 1972 and 2000. Everyone in France would of course be delighted if the national team played as well as they did at the 1998 World Cup – they then beat Brazil 3-0 in the final and people celebrated the national team’s victory all over the country.
  The use of Stade de France: Since the Stade de France is not the home ground of any local club but only of the national team, it has to provide venue for other than sports events as well so as to raise funds for its running. That is why the stadium was built as a multi-purpose arena in the first place. The lower part of the stands is mobile, which means that the stadium can also be used for athletic contests and concerts. It also often provides venue for rugby matches. Nevertheless, the owner of the stadium, the French Ministry of Sports, must subsidize its running every year.
 
Stade de France, Opended: 1998, Capacity 81 338:


Foto: Panoramas, Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)
 
The Stade de France also differs from other stadiums in pitch dimensions. A standard pitch is 105m long and 68m wide, and this applies to all new or newly renovated stadiums. However, the pitch at the Stade de France is two metres wider – its dimensions are 105m x 70m.

The first renovation, in the course of which giant screens were added, was carried out in 2006. It was done on the occasion of another football event – the Champions League final between Barcelona and Arsenal (2-1) – which was played at the Stade de France.

Foto: Citizen59, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Terror attacks in France

In November 2015 the French national stadium was one of the six targets of terror attacks. During the first half of a friendly match between France and Germany (2-0) three suicide bombers tried to enter the stadium, failed and blew themselves up outside it. To prevent panic break-out, spectators were not told about the attacks and the match was finished without interruptions. For security reasons, all 80,000 spectators were kept at the stadium after the match, and some of them were moved to the pitch. Subsequently, the police evacuated all 80,000 spectators in small groups, thus avoiding gathering crowds and the risk of stampede.

Let us hope that the 2016 European Championship will witness only sold out stadiums, friendly atmosphere and no threats of terror attacks!

Author: Jiri Vojkovsky |

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