Lyon get green light for new stadium
Lyon have taken a big step towards finally securing themselves a state-of-the-art stadium by signing the contract for its construction with the builders of their new home on Tuesday.
The OL Group and Vinci Construction France have put pen to paper on the agreement which will allow Lyon to move into their brand-new Stade des Lumieres - Stadium of Lights - for the start of the 2015-16 season.
The 58,000-capacity arena, which will be based in Decines, east of Lyon, has already been accepted as one of ten venues for Euro 2016 and hopes to stage the opening game and a semi-final as well as group stage matches.
"Through this initiative, unique in France and in line with European development, Olympique Lyonnais is happy to participate in Lyon's development into a true European agglomeration like Barcelona, Madrid, London or Turin, which all have a modern stadiums acting as a focal point for the social, leisure and economic ambitions of their region," a press release on the club's official website read.
The €400 million cost of the stadium will be divided equally between the OL Group's own resources and loans, though negotiations continue to finalise the details of the latter.
The building of the venue will create 2,000 jobs with 1,000 employees required to ensure the running of the complex once it is completed, while the OL Group count on recouping much of their outlay with the stadium "based on an economic model already proven by the immensely successful opening of a number of sporting venues (Munich's Allianz Arena, Lille's Grand Stade, London's Emirates Stadium)".
Work on clearing and preparing the site began in October, but strong opposition from local residents meant the project, the brainchild of OL president Jean-Michel Aulas, was delayed until the construction permit was validated by a French court just before Christmas.