No Euro 2016 games for Lens – this disturbing news has been announced at a public meeting on Wednesday. Lens is the second city after Nancy to back out, leaving France with only 9 host venues.
Euro 2016 was due to take place on 11 venues as it is the very first tournament to be played between 24 teams. However already in December 2011 the municipality of Nancy announced their Stade Marcel Picot will not be expanded. Decision was made as citizens weren't happy with projected expenses and AS Nancy might not cope with a ground larger by 50%.
This Wednesday Lens shared the faith as president of the Regional Council Daniel Percheron announced Stade Felix-Bollaert will not be subject to the planned redevelopment.
This is saddening primarily to tenant club RC Lens, who are undergoing a difficult period and would not be able to finance the €71m plan even with the backing of municipal and regional authorities (without government funding).
Design by renowned Pierre Ferret's atelier is ready since 2007, but has not been implemented and Euro 2016 seemed like the perfect opportunity. Renderings of how it may have looked can be seen below. It is unclear at this stage whether the project is further put on hold or dropped completely.
With this change to the host-city list Euro 2016 map seems to have lost proportion. There is only one northern city left (Lille) with the metropolis of Paris slightly to the centre of the country (host venues: Stade de France and Parc des Princes), while all remaining venues are located in the very south (Lyon, Saint-Etienne, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Nice, Marseilles).