Dignitaries gathered in Lyon today to celebrate the conclusion of preparations for the construction of the city's new Stade des Lumières, the 58,000-capacity venue which will be one of France's ten UEFA EURO 2016 stadia.
Building work could start as early as next month in the suburb of Decines-Charpieu, 10km east of the centre of Lyon, with Olympique Lyonnais president Jean-Michel Aulas explaining: "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."
The arena will be part of a complex stretched over 50 hectares and will featuring a training ground for OL as well as hotels and office buildings. The arena 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. The new venue is set to be finished during the 2015/16 season, with the city's mayor, Gérard Collomb, noting that "Lyon is still bidding to stage the opening game" of UEFA EURO 2016.
France's finance minister Pierre Moscovici was among the guests at the event at the city's Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and noted 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," he said, with estimates suggesting that 1,000-2,000 jobs could be created by the project.
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