Past attendances raising hopes of a spot in the European elite are now the past for Racing Charleroi. So is the famous three-tiered east stand. In fact, the Euro 2000 stadium looks nothing like it used to, now it's a secondary venue for a relegation-spot club.
When Stade du Pays de Charleroi was opened after redevelopment, crowds were among Belgium's largest. With turnouts of roughly 10,000 per game, Racing was in the country's top five until 2007.
Already then the third tier of the impressive Euro 2000 east stand was dismantled and roof lowered, but the stadium could still hold some 24,800 people. However, just like attendances, this kind of capacity is now only a memory.
During the 2007/08 campaign almost one out of five people stopped going to Racing games, lowering average turnout to just over 9,000. Very slight decrease in the following season and then another plunge of almost 20% in 2009/10, resulting in 6,500 people per game. With that campaign also ending with relegation, the 2010/11 season also brought a fall to some 5,500 people for every game, representing just over 25% of the available seating.
With Racing balancing between Jupiler League and the second tier, the need for such stadium was no more there. After all, even in best years post-Euro 2000 crowds only went up to 50% of the ground. With current 'Nieuwsblaad' 14th spot prognosis for Racing's 2013/14 campaign, no change for the better is expected.
With this dramatic fall decision was made to dismantle all upper tiers built for Euro 2000 – along the eastern side and behind both goals. The demolition process took 2 months and ended in mid-July. Since then capacity stands at some 14,000-15,000 people and only one stand is covered.
The photos above present how one of the most impressive stands for any UEFA tournament became just a secondary section of a secondary stadium...