Nîmes Olympique's players had one last opportunity to play a game in the arena that had been their home since 1989. However, the team from the south of France still has a few years to go before they move to their permanent venue.
The stadium, which will soon be demolished, was visited by Girondins Bordeaux, last in the table, on November 5. To bid farewell to the distinguished Stade des Costières, the hosts won 1:0. Modern and innovative for its time, the venue was built by the prestigious Italian architect Vittorio Gregotti, under the aegis of Jean Agot, deputy sports director of the city of Nîmes. Costières' father and a devoted Olympique supporter also said goodbye to 'his' stadium - just weeks before it was to be destroyed, he came to set foot in it for the last time.
The facility recorded a record attendance on May 7 , 1989 during the French Rugby Championship quarter-final between Toulon and Béziers, with more than 26,000 spectators. This match took place a few months after the inaugural meeting at Costières. The French national football team was the first to play there on February 15, 1989. That day, the hosts defeated the Dutch with Dennis Bergkamp in the line-up.
During the construction of Stade Nemausus, Nîmes Olympique will play at a temporary stadium - Stade des Antonins. The two sites occupied by the Ligue 2 team's officials are separated by a few hundred metres, so fans will be able to keep an eye on the progress of the club's new home. The temporary stadium has a capacity of 8,000 and is expected to host Nîmes matches until 2026.
The arena, which will be built on the site of Stade des Costières, is scheduled to be completed that year. Work is expected to begin in January 2023. Nîmes revealed plans for its extensive stadium complex last September. In addition to the 15,000-capacity stadium, the site will include an environmental quarter.
The design is also a nod to the history that can be seen on the streets of Nîmes. It is in this town that one of the most recognisable amphitheatres of ancient Rome is situated. Therefore, instead of a compact façade, striking arcades will be installed. This solution also has a practical application, because the warm south of France favours an airy, shaded structure. Therefore, the main spectator promenade is to be located not under the stands, but on their crown. From there, fans will enjoy an excellent view of the pitch and its surroundings.
The disign has been drawn up by leading French architects Valode & Pistre and will be carried out by SAS NEMAU, the entity set up by Nîmes Olympique president Rani Assaf. The project will cost €230 million. The club will benefit from a long-term lease that will not increase the stadium's operating costs. At the same time, revenue from the facility will increase significantly due to the daily use of the stadium space outside match days.