It was supposed to be prepared magnificently, but it’s decent at best. Still, Stade Bollaert-Delelis stands out as one of France’s most atmospheric stadiums.
This, without any doubt, is one of our favourite host cities of Euro 2016. After all, the population is formally below stadium capacity and yet passion for football is prevalent. today marks the third city in our Euro 2016 countdown.
Before the tournament
Opened back in 1933 it’s one of the oldest stadiums used during Euro 2016 and yet it’s one of the best football grounds across France one could think of. Still with its location on the east-west axis, still with corners left empty, it might be considered as “football specific” as it was in 1998, when it hosted the World Cup.
Euro 2016 investment
Initial plans were more impressive than those eventually implemented. One thing that remained almost untouched was the entire concrete structure of the stands. With facades, roof, seats and installations ripped out, it underwent a comprehensive change worth over €70 million, though one of over €110 million was planned earlier.
Lens is of course larger as an urban area than the 30,000+ population they have listed. Still, the stadium is just 1km (under 1 mile) west of the strict city centre and reachable on foot for everyone. In fact, one might think the most significant landmark location not within walking distance is… the city of Lille (derby rivals) lying 40km north-east.
Wirth only the bare concrete structure left intact in 2014, the stadium received basically brand new equipment throughout. This considers the roof, seats, and all spectator areas beneath the seating bowl. And, to considerable dissatisfaction of local supporters, architects chose to create a whitish, clear and simple spatial layout of all of these areas. White composite and metal-mesh facades, white steel and white-grey seats create a very neutral, almost sterile environment that received some criticism. Still, it all comes to live with fans inside and/or nighttime illumination.
The seating bowl remained virtually untouched. Minor changes included removal of the first row of seating and greater roof over all seats (first time in the stadium’s history). Early plans called for expansion to 44,000 seats, but eventually the size remained almost unchanged.
Euro 2016 games
|Albania – Switzerland
|England – Wales
|Czech Rep. – Turkey
|Round of 16
RC Lens may be a second-league club for the duration of the UEFA tournament, but they also remain among the most popular teams in France. In case you need a statement regarding sustainability for a stadium of this size in the long run, the 2015/16 season of Ligue 2 saw crowds of 26,393 people every game!