There is a big expansion on the agenda, but that will start in about a year. At this point, the battle against time began so that "Les Lanciers" could start the season at their own ground.
Goal is to play at home in Ligue 1
In 2018, the city council approved development of the arena to 30,000 seats. Works have been divided into three stages and are scheduled to start in September 2022. Plans are really impressive considering average attendance in recent years has rarely exceeded 3,000 spectators. The total cost of works was estimated at € 70-77 million according to 2018 data.
But that's only in a year. Now the club's authorities are focusing on meeting requirements of the highest division in France for the 2021/22 season. In May, city officials unanimously voted to modernize Stade Gabriel Montpied ahead of the Ligue 1 start on August 7. The cost of these ad hoc works is estimated at € 3 million.
The club from central France cannot count on any concessions from the league authorities, as in the past exceptions were made twice for Clermont Foot 63, which was exempt from some licensing requirements. In case all the works were not completed before the start of the new campaign, it was decided to register Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Étienne as an alternative ground.
What has to be improved in Clermont-Ferrand?
Currently, the capacity of the stadium slightly exceeds 10,000. It is planned to expand the auditorium to 13,000 thanks to the construction of a temporary modular stand for 3,000 fans. The new tribune will be 80 to 90 metres long, 10 to 12 metres high and will have a roof.
At the moment, the facility has one permanent structure (the west stand shown above), which was inaugurated in 1995. The others are modular stands: Volcan, Livradois and Limagne. The disassembly of the latter was planned for June.
Lighting power will be increased from current 1,250 lux to 2,100. New camera platforms and commentator booths are to be installed on the west stand. Lighting masts, 39 metres high, will be moved 7-8 metres further from their current position to provide necessary visual comfort for TV broadcasting. More than € 1.5 million will be spent on the modernization of lighting.
Another important aspect is the safety of spectators. For this purpose, it was decided to install additional CCTV cameras. From the players' point of view, the most important change will be laying natural turf on the pitch.
Here's how Stade Gabriel Montpied will change after all phases of expansion have been completed.
Author: Tomasz Sobura