|Stade de France|
|Full name||Stade de France|
|Owners||Consortium Stade de France|
|Location|| ZAC du Cornillon Nord
93216 Saint Denis, France
|Built||2 May 1995|
|Opened||28 January 1998|
|Field dimensions||105 x 70 m|
The Stade de France (French pronunciation: [stad də fʁɑ̃s]) is the national stadium of France, situated just north of Paris in the commune of Saint-Denis. It has an all-seater capacity of 81,338, making it the fifth largest stadium in Europe, and is used by both the France national football team and French rugby union team for international competition. On 12 July 1998, France defeated Brazil 3–0 in the FIFA World Cup Final contested at the stadium. The Stade de France is listed as a category four stadium by UEFA and has hosted matches for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, 2003 World Championships in Athletics, and the 2007 Rugby World Cup making it the only stadium in the world to have hosted both a Football World Cup final and a Rugby World Cup final. The facility also hosted the annual Motorsport event Race of Champions in 2004, 2005, and 2006 before the event moved to Wembley Stadium in London. The stadium hosted the 2003 World Championships in Athletics and since 1999 it has hosted the annual Meeting Areva athletics meet. Domestically, the Stade de France serves as a second home facility to Stade Français, Paris's main rugby club. The stadium also hosts the main French domestic cup finals, which include the Coupe de France (both football and rugby), Coupe de la Ligue, Challenge de France, and the Coupe Gambardella, as well as the Top 14 rugby union championship match. The Stade de France has hosted two UEFA Champions League finals in 2000 and 2006, respectively. The stadium is also used for music concerts and other sporting events. The facility is owned and operated by the Consortium Stade de France.
The discussion of a national stadium in France came about as a result of the country's selection to host the 1998 FIFA World Cup by FIFA on 2 July 1992. As a result of the selection, the country and the France Football Federation made a commitment to construct an 80,000+ capacity all-seater stadium with every seat in the facility being covered. The was the first time in over 70 years since the construction of the Stade Olympique Yves-du-Manoir that a stadium in France was being constructed for a specific event. Due to the magnitude and importance of the facility, the Council of State was allowed first hand approach to how the stadium would be constructed and paid for. The Council sought for the stadium to be built as close as possible to the capital of France, Paris, and that the constructor and operator of the facility would receive significant financial contribution for a period of 30 months following the completion of the stadium. The stadium's design was handled by the team of architects composed of Michel Macary, Aymeric Zublena, Regembal Michel, and Claude Costantini who were associated with CR SCAU Architecture. The stadium was officially ready for construction following the government's selection of manufacturers, Bouygues, Dumez, and SGE, and the signing of building permits on 30 April 1995. With only 31 months to complete the stadium, construction commenced on 2 May 1995. The laying of the first cornerstone took place five months later on 6 September. After over a year of construction, over 800,000m ² of earthworks had been created and as much as 180,000 m³ of concrete had been poured. The installation of the roof, which cost €45 million, and the mobile platform also took more than a year to complete. During the developmental phase, the stadium was referred to as the "Grand Stade" (Great Stadium). On 4 December 1995, the Ministry of Sport launched a design competition to decide on a name for the stadium. The stadium was officially named the Stade de France after the Ministry heard a proposal from French football legend Michel Platini, who recommended the name.
The stadium was officially inaugurated on 28 January 1998 as it hosted a football match between France and Spain. The total cost of the stadium was approximately €290 million. The match was played in front of 78,368 spectators, which included President Jacques Chirac, with France winning the match 1–0 with Zinedine Zidane scoring the lone goal, and the first-ever in the Stade de France, in the 20th minute. Six months later, France returned to the stadium and defeated Brazil in the 1998 FIFA World Cup final to earn their first World Cup title. The national rugby team's first match in the facility was contested a month later on 2 February with France earning a 24–17 win over England in front of 77,567 spectators. Philippe Bernat-Salles converted the first ever try at the stadium scoring it in the 11th minute of play. On 24 May 2000, the Stade de France hosted the final of the 1999–2000 edition of the UEFA Champions League. In the match, which saw 78,759 spectators attend, Spanish club Real Madrid defeated fellow Spaniards Valencia 3–0. In 2003, the Stade de France was the primary site of the 2003 World Championships in Athletics. Three years later in 2006, the facility hosted another UEFA Champions League final with another Spanish club Barcelona defeating English Arsenal 2–1. On 9 May 2009, the Stade de France set the national attendance record for a sporting match played in France with 80,832 showing up to watch Guingamp upset Brittany rivals Rennes 2–1 in the 2009 Coupe de France final. On 22 May 2010, the Stade de France hosted the final of the 2009–10 Heineken Cup.
The Stade de France has a movable stand which can be retracted to uncover part of the athletics track. The stadium was notably designed with the assistance of a software simulation of crowd in order to get an accurate observation of how it would look fully developed. The facility was also intended to inform and develop the area of the Plaine Saint-Denis, which straddle the communes of Saint-Denis, Aubervilliers, and Saint-Ouen. The primary goal was to renovate the area by building new residential and tertiary sites. In 2002, the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABC) awarded a prize recognizing the unique structure of the Stade de France commenting that the Stade de France exhibited "a construction of an attractive open architecture of the city, with an elegance and natural lightness".
The construction of the Stade de France's roof cost over €45 million to complete. Its elliptical shape symbolizes the universality of sport in France. Its area of six hectares and weight, 13,000 tons, is considered a technical marvel by many. It was designed to easily protect the 80,000 spectators without covering the playing field. All lighting and sound, which include 550 lights and 36 blocks of 5 speakers, are housed inside to avoid obstructing visibility. The tinted glass in the center reduces the contrast and distributes natural light. It filters out red and infrared radiation, however, it allows blue and green lights, due to their necessity involving the health of the turf.
Inside the StadiumEdit
Changing rooms at the Stade de FranceEdit
The Stade de France offers athletes the best welcome ever assembled in France. All facilities reserved for them are located in the lawn, west, and are directly accessible by bus players. They include local host and control, two cloakrooms of 1 200 sqm each (football and rugby), an athletic locker room of 400 m², two referees changing rooms, two rooms of Appeal, two rooms heated, offices for the delegates, the local board, an infirmary, the doping control room. Spaces are also specially designed for artists: the boxes and lounges, a rehearsal room for musicians, choirs, extras, a storage room for costumes, a relaxation area, space for sets and instruments. The changing rooms have been designed by Michel Platini.
The Stade de France is the biggest modular stadium of the world. It has three galleries. The forum is a low mobile platform of 25 000 seats. It is reached by the level 1. It may fall 15 feet to reveal all of the running track and jumping pits. It then retains 22 000 seats. The movement lasts 80 hours, 40 people 20h/24h mobilized, and carried by ten distinct elements of 700 tons each. Access to the gallery is through with 22 bridges and can be found at level 3 with a concentration of restaurants, entertainment areas, shops and central station security. 18 staircases lead viewers to the upper gallery located at Level 6. The evacuation of 80 000 spectators on the porch out in less than 15 minutes.
The grass areaEdit
Located at 11 meters below the court, the playing area measures 9 000 square meters (120 meters long and 75 meters wide) to a grassed area of 11 000 square meters. Nearly one billion seeds were sown to produce the first pitch in 1997. Today, the grass comes in rolls of 1.20 mx 8 m. Changing the pitch calls for three days of preparation and five days of installation. The change takes place several times a year, depending on the programming stage.
The giant screensEdit
As part of its policy of renewing its infrastructure, the Stade de France added two new big screens in September 2006. Covering an area of 196 sqm each, these screens are the largest located in a stadium in Europe. The new displays have a surface greater than 58% in the former giant screens installed at the Stade de France in 1998. Feat of engineering, the new giant screens are each composed of 4 423 680 LED (Light Emitting Diode) for a self-made images more fluid, faster, and more particularly bright. In most positions in the stadium, each spectator will have perfect vision images. The image is of a quality, sharpness, and level of realism never before achieved in a sports stadium.
The Stade de France has no regular tenant other than the French national football and rugby teams. Repeated attempts to convince a professional football or rugby team to move there have failed so far. Paris Saint-Germain has remained at Parc des Princes under pressure from its parent company (pay-TV network Canal Plus) and the Paris city government. However, the Paris rugby club Stade Français have now established themselves as a semi-regular tenant. They started by gambling on scheduling their Top 14 home fixture on 15 October 2005 against Toulouse at Stade de France. Stade Français's president, Max Guazzini, publicly said that the club would have to sell 25,000 to 30,000 tickets to break even. Three weeks before the match, 61,000 tickets had been sold, setting a French record for tickets sold to a league match for any sport, including football. The final attendance was 79,454, smashing the national attendance record for a league match in any sport by more than 20,000. Five minutes before the end of the Toulouse match, Guazzini announced to the crowd that Stade Français's scheduled home fixture against Biarritz in March 2006 would also be held at Stade de France. The Stade-Biarritz match broke the attendance record from earlier in the season, with 79,604 present. Guazzini then booked the Stade de France for the same two league fixtures in 2006–07. The Biarritz match on 16 October 2006 drew 79,619, making this the third consecutive Stade Français fixture at the Stade de France to set an all-time French attendance record. The record was broken yet again at a match against Toulouse match on 27 January 2007, with 79,741 filling the stands. Stade Français went on to schedule three home matches at Stade de France in the 2007–08 season. For the 2008–09 season, they booked Stade de France for three home league matches and a Heineken Cup pool match. The number of Stade Français home matches at Stade de France increased again for 2009–10, with five Top 14 fixtures already announced for the stadium. Even with the lack of a regular league tenant, the stadium's revenue increased greatly in 2007, as it was used extensively during the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France, where it hosted numerous pool matches, a quarterfinal match, both of the semi finals and the final. The Lille OSC football team played all its "home" games in European competition during the 2005–06 season, both in the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Cup, at the Stade de France because its own stadium was then under renovation, and the only nearer alternative on French soil, Stade Félix-Bollaert, was not available as that ground's occupant, Lille's local rival Lens, was also participating in the UEFA Cup. Stade de France has hosted the Champions League final on two occasions: 2000(Real Madrid 3 Valencia 0), and 200(Barcelona 2 Arsenal 1).
Although located at the crossroads of auto-routes A1 and A86, it is not advisable to go there by car unless you have reserved parking. The Stadium was built with a very limited number of parking spaces, which is why public transportation is considered the primary means of getting to the stadium. River shuttles are provided by the Canal Saint-Denis.