LOSC Lille Métropole have had to admit defeat in the bid to redevelop their Grimonprez-Jooris stadium.
The Ligue 1 club, who played their three home matches in the UEFA Champions League group stage at the Stade de France in Paris, had hoped to win the backing of the highest administrative body in France, the Conseil d’Etat. However, the council has ruled out the appeal, despite the backing of Lille's mayor and local assembly.
In July, a court ruling had declared that the club's bid to turn the stadium from an 18,000-seater venue into a 33,000-capacity arena would damage the remains of an ancient citadel dating back to 1667. Lille were forced to play in Paris as their temporary home for the past 19 months, the Stadium Lille-Métropole, did not meet UEFA regulations.
Lille will now turn their attention to building a new stadium from scratch and club president Michel Seydoux has already identified seven possible new sites. The new location will be confirmed early next year, with work starting as soon as possible after that in the hope of completing the project in time for the 2007/08 season. Lille have entered the UEFA Cup Round of 32, and will play FC Shakhtar Donetsk over two legs in February.
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