Lyon stadium construction begins in race to ready for 2016 Euros

Lyon Stade de LumieresBy Paul Nicholson
November 13 - The foundation stone for the €250 million Grande Stade de Lyon was laid yesterday. The new Lyon stadium. also known as the Stade des Lumières, will be one of France's 10 UEFA Euro 2016 venues and the race is now on to make sure the stadium is finished in time for the championships.

Scheduled to be finished during the 2015/16 season, the stadium has suffered funding delays but these now appear to be cleared. Groundwork work had already started at the 58,000-seater stadium in the suburb of Decines-Charpieu, 10km east of central Lyon.

The arena will be part of a complex spread over 50 hectares and will have a training ground for Ligue 1 side Olympique Lyonnais (OL), as well as hotels and office buildings. It will replace the Stade de Gerland, Lyon's home since 1950, which was one of the seven venues that staged the 1984 UEFA European Championship.

"A dream will come true for all the people of Lyon," said Lyon's mayor Gérard Collomb as OL club president Jean-Michel Aulas laid the foundation stone

The finished venue will consist of three tiers with seats no further than 15 metres from the pitch.

Aulas said: "The aim is to build a multi-purpose stadium with things happening in it every day - open 365 days a year, dedicated to people and businesses. It will be much more than a stadium."

Collomb, said that "Lyon is still bidding to stage the opening game," of the EURO 2016 Championships.

France's finance minister Pierre Moscovici said that work on the Stade des Lumières would be a major boost to the local economy. "It's an important day for local jobs and the whole region." Between 1,000 and 2,000 jobs are expected to be created by the project.

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