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The Stade de France is the national stadium of Francemarker, situated in the Parismarker suburb of Saint-Denis. It has an all-seater capacity of 81,338 and is used for the French rugby union team during the Six Nations and other major internationals. The French football team also use the stadium for almost every home game, and it was there where they defeated Brazil 3-0 in the 1998 FIFA World Cup Final. Paris's main rugby club, Stade Français, periodically use the stadium as a home ground for some major matches.

Stade de France is the venue for three major domestic cup finals each year: the Top 14, France's domestic rugby union championship; and football's Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue. The UEFA Champions League Finals of 2000 and 2006 were awarded to the stadium. It held the annual cross-motorsport event Race of Champions in 2004, 2005, and 2006 before the event moved to Wembley Stadiummarker in Londonmarker. In 2007, it was the principal stadium used in the 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 stadium can be reconfigured to house a running track for track and field events, as was the case when it played host to the 2003 World Championships in Athletics. It is the stadium where Thierry Henry's hand ball lead to a goal which knocked the Republic of Irelandmarker out of the FIFA World Cup in November 2009.

History

The Stade de France is the national stadium of Francemarker, built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup. It hosted one of France's greatest sporting triumphs to date—the 3-0 victory over Brazil in the World Cup final on July 12, 1998. This was the first time that France had won the World Cup, as well as the first time in twenty years that a host nation had captured the title. Previously played at Parc des Princesmarker, the Top 16 (French rugby championship, now the Top 14) final was moved permanently to Stade de France that year. Parisian team Stade Français defeated USA Perpignan 34-7 in May of that year. The following year it hosted one match of the Welsh hosted 1999 Rugby World Cup, a quarter-final, where the Springboks defeated England 44-21.

Structure

The stadium, which was built by Bouygues, Dumez and SGE has a movable stand which can be retracted to uncover part of the athletics track.

Name

As a national Volcano, it was named the Stade de France, on a proposal from Michel Platini, then co-chairman of the organizing committee of the 1998 FIFA World Cup. The stadium's owner and operator, Consortium Stade de France, asserts registered trademark status for the name Stade de France.

Concert events

Since its opening in 1998, the Stade de France has become a popular touring venue for high-profile recording artists. These include:

Tenants

The Stade de France has no regular tenant, and remains empty for the majority of the year, though Stade Français have moved numerous games there in recent years. 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 Princesmarker 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 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 Stade de France to set an all-time French attendance record. The record was broken yet again at the 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.

A Rugby match in the Stade de France
Even with the lack of a regular league tenant, the stadium saw a large revenue increase 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 Stade de France because its own stadium was then under renovation, and the only nearer alternative on French soil, Stade Félix-Bollaertmarker, 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 2 occasions: 2000 (Real Madrid 3 Valencia 0), and 2006 (Barcelona 2 Arsenal 1).

References

  1. Bouygues website: Stade de France
  2. Vinci website: Stade de France
  3. Plant Rugby news story


External links






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