|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the French Wikipedia. (January 2011)|
|Full name||Stade Vélodrome|
|Location||Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône, France|
|Renovated||1984, 1998, 2014|
|Owner||City of Marseille|
|Capacity||67,000 (future capacity)
60,031 (pre-renovation capacity)
42,000 (current capacity)
|Olympique de Marseille
RC Toulon (occasional matches)
The Stade Vélodrome (French pronunciation: [stad velɔdʁɔm]) is a football stadium in Marseille, France. It is home to the Olympique de Marseille football club of Ligue 1, and was a venue in the 1998 FIFA World Cup and the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Before its current renovations, it was the largest club football ground in France, with a capacity of 60,031 spectators; although the current capacity is 42,000 due to the ongoing renovations ahead of UEFA Euro 2016. When the construction is completed, its capacity should be 67,000. The stadium is also used regularly by the French rugby union team.
The record attendance for a club game at the Stade Vélodrome was of 58,897 (for a UEFA Cup semifinal against Newcastle United in 2004). The stadium was also featured as a Football World Cup venue when the 1938 finals were held in France. The first-ever match to be played was between Marseille and Torino in 1937.
The French rugby union team began an impressive run of victories at the stadium in the early 2000s. They defeated the All Blacks 42–33 in November 2000, and in 2001 defeated Australia by one point. They beat the Springboks in 2002, followed by a win over England in 2003. However, their run of luck was broken in 2004 when they lost 14–24 to Argentina. The venue was used by France in November 2009 when the French played the New Zealand All Blacks. France is not the only rugby team to have used the Vélodrome in recent years. On April 18, 2009, Toulon took their home fixture in the Top 14 against Toulouse to the Vélodrome, drawing 57,039 spectators to see a 14–6 Toulon win which played a key role in the Toulonnais' successful fight against relegation in the 2008–09 season. Toulon has taken two home matches to the Vélodrome in each of the succeeding two seasons. The Vélodrome was also the venue for both semi-finals in the 2010–11 Top 14 season.
In 1935, the architectural firm Pollack Ploquin was chosen to build a stadium in Marseille. Henry Ploquin (who designed the Stade Municipal Gingham for the Olympics three years earlier) designed the stadium. For economic reasons, only the Stade Vélodrome was built. On 28 April 1935, the foundation stone was laid for the Velodrome by Marseille Mayor Ribot, on a site between downtown and the suburban areas of St. Giniez and Sainte-Marguerite on military grounds belonging to the city. The Stade Vélodrome opened on 13 June 1937, when a friendly match was played between Olympique Marseille and Italian of Torino FC (which ended 2-1 to Olympique Marseille). On 29 August 1937 (the second day of the French national football championship) a match took place between OM and Cannes. This was the first official match at the stadium.
The Stade Vélodrome is aptly named, since cycling competitions were held there. Over the years, bleachers gradually replaced the bike path which circled the stadium. These races became less common, but the velodrome remained famous for fans of OM (Olympique Marseille) (since the sloped track which extended the bleachers served as a slide to invade the pitch at the end of matches).
OM was long hostile to the Stade Vélodrome, calling it the "stage of the City Council". For fans of the Olympians between the wars, the real home of OM was Stadium Huveaune, owned by OM and partly financed by fans in the early 1920s. After World War II, however, OM no longer owned the Stadium Huveaune. Seeking support from the city, Chairman Marcel Leclerc had OM play at Huveaune from 1945–1960. The City Council then relented, and OM moved to the Vélodrome. During the 1970s, OM shared the Stade with the Marseille XIII Rugby League.
First renovations 
1970 marked the first modifications to the Vélodrome, with the replacement of the floodlights on the Ganay and Jean Bouin tribunes by four 60 meter towers for nighttime events. In March 1971, the capacity of the stadium was increased by nearly 6000 seats, with the reduction of the cycling track and the removal of the cinder running track. This brought the total capacity of the stadium to 55,000 people, including the standing area.
Olympique returned to the Stadium Huveaune for the 1982-1983 season as Stade Vélodrome was under construction in preparation for the 1984 European Football Championship. The playing surface was completely replaced during this time. The semifinal between the France and Portugal had set a record for attendance at an international match with 54,848 spectators. The capacity of the stadium was later reduced to 42,000 with the construction of lodges.
The cycling track was removed altogether once Bernard Tapie was appointed president of OM in 1985. He chose to remove it and rearrange the corners of the stadium, bringing the capacity up to 48,000. This renovation marked the end of the era of Vélodrome as a multi-use facility. The area around the stadium was also transformed with the creation of the second line of the metro which served the stadium from two stations and with the construction of the Palais des Sports nearby.
1998 World Cup and beyond 
The Stade Vélodrome was completely renovated for the 1998 World Cup; its capacity increased from 42,000 to 60,031 seats (or 32 miles of seats). The Vélodrome hosted the final draw, which took place on 4 December 1997 (the first time the final draw was held in an outdoor venue) and seven matches, including France's first match against South Africa, the quarterfinal between Argentina and the Netherlands and the semifinal between Brazil and the Netherlands. As of 2011, the record attendance for a football game (58,897 spectators) was the Newcastle United UEFA Cup semifinal on May 6, 2004 (2–0). During the 2007 Rugby World Cup the Vélodrome hosted six games, including two quarterfinals: Australia versus England (which holds the overall attendance record with 59,120 spectators) and South Africa versus Fiji. On July 16, 2009, during preparations for a Madonna concert, one of four winches used to hoist the structure failed; the 60-ton roof fell (leaving two dead, eight wounded and crushing a crane).
Widely criticized and unloved by the Marseillais for its architecture (no roof, exposure to strong mistral winds and poor acoustics), the Stade Vélodrome has since 2003 been the subject of several projects to modernize and enlarge it. In July 2009, following an extraordinary council of the City of Marseille concerning the City Hall renovation project, a motion was passed launching a public-private partnership (PPP). On June 21, 2010, following France's winning bid for UEFA Euro 2016, Marseille announced that the stadium would receive another renovation (a roof and an increase in capacity from 60,031 to 67,000), making it a UEFA Elite Stadium. Works began in the spring of 2011 and are expected to end in summer 2014.
In 2002, Division 1 was renamed Ligue 1. The average attendance for each season from 2000–01 to 2011-12 was:
1938 FIFA World Cup matches 
|Date||Time (CET)||Team #1||Result||Team #2||Round||Spectators|
|5 June 1938||17:00||Italy||2–1 (a.e.t.)||Norway||First||18,000|
|16 June 1938||18:00||Italy||2–1||Brazil||Semifinal||30,000|
1998 FIFA World Cup matches 
|Date||Time (CET)||Team #1||Result||Team #2||Round||Spectators|
|12 June 1998||21:00||France||3–0||South Africa||Group C||55,077|
|15 June 1998||14:30||England||2–0||Tunisia||Group G||54,587|
|20 June 1998||21:00||Netherlands||5–0||South Korea||Group E||55,000|
|23 June 1998||21:00||Brazil||1–2||Norway||Group A||55,000|
|27 June 1998||16:00||Italy||1–0||Norway||Round of 16||55,000|
|4 July 1998||16:00||Netherlands||2–1||Argentina||Quarterfinal||55,000|
|7 July 1998||21:00||Brazil||1–1 (4–2 pen.)||Netherlands||Semifinal||54,000|
|1||Tribune Jean Bouin|
|2||Virage Sud Chevalier Roze|
|4||Virage Nord De Peretti|
|5||Disabled seating (258 seats)|
The four stands in the stadium are named after athletes (runner Jean Bouin and 1920s cyclist Gustave Ganay), a historical figure of the 1720 plague epidemic (Chevalier Roze) and a popular bear (Patrice De Peretti, nicknamed "Depe", who died suddenly in July 2000).
Situation and accessibility 
The stadium is located four kilometres away from the Old Port of Marseille, within the neighbourhoods of Sainte-Marguerite and Saint-Giniez in the southern part of Marseille. It is bound to the south by the Huveaune river and to the north by the Parc Chanot and the local headquarters of regional public TV station, France 3 Méditerranée. To its west runs the Boulevard Michelet and to the east, one can find the Marseille Palais des Sports as well as the Delort stadium, which will be converted into a rugby arena during the Vélodrome renovation projects.
The Vélodrome is serviced by the bus and metro networks of the Régie des transports de Marseille. Besides several bus services operating in the area, two stations of the Marseille Metro line 2 can be found close to the stadium. Supporters wishing to reach the Ganay or North stands must alight at the Sainte-Marguerite Dromel station whereas the Rond-Point du Prado station caters for the South stand and the Jean Bouin stand. This line, which also serves the Marseille Saint-Charles train station, benefits from additional trains on matchdays.
Marseille Provence Airport is thirty kilometres away from the Vélodrome.
The Stade Vélodrome will increase its seating capacity by 2016 (when France hosts UEFA Euro 2016), and will continue to host games for Olympique de Marseille. Currently it holds 60,031 spectators; following its renovation, it will be able to hold 67,000, including 7,000 VIP seats. The expected cost of the project is €267 million. The expansion and modernization of equipment was part of the French bid to organize Euro 2016. Even if France did not submit the winning bid "the project will of course be pursued", said Marseille mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin. Gaudin's bid also provided for the creation of a new district.
Marseille will increase the stadium's capacity and install a roof, as required by UEFA standards. The project also includes multiple reception areas and media space, better access for the disabled and better seating.
As seen in the picture above, the esplanade Ganay will be preserved and refurbished. The RTM parking lot will be replaced with office towers and housing. RTM users will benefit from a larger underground car park. Trees and wind turbines will contribute to a new-neighborhood HQE (high environmental quality).
The total project estimate is €267 million, with €150M for the stadium and the remnant for the surrounding shopping mall, hotel and housing. Plans call for the private sector to cover two-thirds of the investment; the remainder will be shared by the region, the department of Bouches-du-Rhône, MPM and the city of Marseille. The French government will also contribute to upgrade the area's infrastructure. The city hopes to contribute at least €20 million. After several studies, the mayor selected the contract of partnership arrangements included in a PPP (public-private partnership).
Time frame 
The project is expected to be completed in summer 2014. During construction, OM will continue to play at the Vélodrome, with a maximum capacity of 42,000.
Olympique de Marseille 
No naming rights 
"I am not the mayor who will sell the Vélodrome or the one who will change its name", said Gaudin. For the time being, the selling of naming rights has been rejected.
- "La ville de Marseille et la société Arema signent un contrat pour la reconfiguration du stade Vélodrome" (in French). France BTP. 21 June 2011. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
- "France v New Zealand All Blacks". Retrieved 2009-05-13.
- "Top 14, 23e Journée : Toulon – Toulouse" (in French). L'Équipe. 2009-04-18. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
- "Boudjellal savoure" (in French). L'Équipe. 2009-04-18. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
- Nouveau stade Vélodrome : les dessous du financement, La Provence
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Stade Vélodrome|
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