Category Archives: Stadium of the Week

Stadium of the Week – BC Place – Vancouver Whitecaps and BC Lions

With the Women’s World Cup currently on in Canada I thought it was appropriate to look at one of the venues being used in the tournament. I decided on the BC Place, the venue of the final on July the 5th. It has been illuminated in a variety of colour schemes during this World Cup…


The BC place is located in Vancouver in British Columbia. It was built in 1983 in preparation for the World’s Fair Expo in 1986. The original build had a capacity of around 60,000 and was used to host a multitude of events ranging from football to concerts to visits from the Pope. At the time it held claim to the biggest air supported roof anywhere in the world (a dome that was pressurised to maintain its shape).

The original roof structure.

Unfortunately in 2007 the roof suffered from a structural collapse under the weight of snow and ice and as a result of this plans were drawn up to carry out $150 million worth of work on the stadium and the external structure. It took a few years of planning but in 2010 the roof was deflated for the final time and replaced by a new retractable cover (the end budget for all the work in the stadium ran to $514 million). The new retractable roof also held a record of its own being the largest in the world.

Vancouver-Jan 5, 2007-Roof of BC Place Stadium collapses Friday during a storm.  The one patch at right is the one that failed which sent the whole thing down.  Also, interior shot with workers and shot of General Manager of BC Place Howard Crosley talking to media. For Wency Leung story(Steve Bosch photo) [PNG Merlin Archive] *CALGARY HERALD MERLIN ARCHIVE*
The snow covered roof that collapsed in 2007.
Currently the stadium is home to two Canadian football teams, the Vancouver Whitecaps of the MLS and the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League. Additionally there have been national matches scheduled here and other sports including Ice-Hockey. The stadium was chosen as one of six host venues for the 2014 Women’s World Cup and will host 9 matches in total (including the final). Controversially it has an artificial surface (along with all of the other tournament venues).

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Stadium of the Week – Stadion Narodowy – Polish National Team

Tonight the 2015 Europa League Final will be contested between Dnipro and Sevilla. The final takes place in Warsaw, Poland at the national stadium (Stadion Narodowy). First built in 2011 for the European Championships in 2012 the stadium is now home to the Polish national team and has hosted a variety of sporting events since.

The national stadium in Warsaw is built on the site of the previous national stadium, 'Stadion Dziesieciolecia'.
The national stadium in Warsaw is built on the site of the previous national stadium, ‘Stadion Dziesieciolecia’.

The stadium has a capacity of 58,145 seats for spectators during football matches (although this can be extended depending on the event). On the outside of the stadium the materials used to create the facade are in the national colours of Poland. The stadium has a unique retractable roof that is a flexible membrane rather than a solid structure.

This image shows the membrane moving during the process of closing the roof.

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Have You Seen the Facilities? – Ajax De Toekomst

‘De Toekomst’ translates as ‘the future’. Welcome to the home of Ajax Amsterdam and their legendary training ground. 1017px-Ajax_Amsterdam.svgBuilt in the mid 1990s De Toekomst boasts some of the most advanced and developed training facilities in world football. The Ajax Academy has always been a leader in developing young talent and they are still a benchmark for clubs all over the globe.


The complex has nine football pitches (a mixture of grass and artificial) as well as a 5,000 capacity stadium where the Ajax reserve and youth teams host their matches. There are weights rooms, gymnasiums and swimming pools that all Ajax staff can use as part of training or for conditioning. In terms of staff there are hundreds of people who work every day to provide the Ajax players with everything they need. You can find coaches, chefs, doctors, dieticians and even teachers who provide education to many of the young Ajax stars. The whole facility is geared towards ensuring that Ajax continue to develop future internationalists and they regularly have former Dutch internationalists and Ajax players come in to meet the youngsters to give them coaching and inspiration. In total there are 14 youth teams connected with the Amsterdam side.

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Stadium of the Week – Stade Vélodrome – Olympique de Marseille

Bonjour et bienvenue à Marseille! This week we are going to France to look at an iconic stadium that very recently had a rather large facelift.Olympique_Marseille

The Stade Vélodrome in the south of France has been home to Olympique de Marseille since 1937. The 67,000 capacity stadium did originally host cycling events alongside football so the name is not just for show (it hasn’t held any form of event like that for many, many years).

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Although the Marseille fans initially hated the stadium (it was meant as a replacement to their spiritual home the Stadium Huveaune) the ground has become one of the most famous in world football. It has undergone many different redevelopments with the 1970s and 80s being particularly busy as the removal of both the running track and cycling track increased the capacity dramatically. It is the largest club football ground in France and regularly plays host to the French Rugby Union as well is Marseille home matches.

Two major restructuring projects have been completed in the last 20 years. The first being the complete renovation of the stadium in preparation of it being a World Cup venue in 1998. The stadium was used to host group matches, a quarter-final and a semi-final (it was here where Dennis Bergkamp scored one of the greatest goals of all time against Argentina). It is safe to say that the fans of ‘Les Phocéens’ had a more than slight dislike for the 1994 renovation. They hated the new ground with criticism of the handling of the whole project and the treatment of supporters during its development. They hated that there was no roof and that the noise from the crowd evaporated out of the stadium meaning a poorer atmosphere.

The stadium as it looked during the World Cup in 1998.

In 2009 the fans were finally awarded with a bit of hope as it was announced that there were formal plans to once again redevelop the ground had been approved by the Marseille city government. Work started in 2011 and finished in 2014. The capacity was increased (yet again) and a roof was finally installed around the ground.


What makes the atmosphere so special at the Vélodrome is the atmosphere created by the fans in both the ‘Virage Nord’ and ‘Virage Sud’. Various supporters groups are housed in the two ends of the ground creating a vibrant and colourful atmosphere that is pretty much unmatched in France (and is one of the most impressive in Europe). The supporters groups are so important to Marseille as a city and a club that the north stand is named after one of the founders of a major fan association, the ‘Marseille Trop Puissant’ ( it is called the ‘Virage Nord-Patrice de Peretti’). Some of the major fans groups linked to the club are – Yankee Nord Marseille, Marseille Trop Puissant, Fanatics, Dodgers, Commando Ultras 1984, South Winners, Amis de l’OM and the Club Central des Supporteurs.  

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5 avril 2015, stade Vélodrome, Marseille (Bouches-du-Rhône) Les supporters marseillais ont bien fait les choses avant ce classique contre le PSG. Les tifos réalisés ont magnifiquement habillé le stade Vélodrome. L'Olympique de Marseille perd cependant le match 3 à 2 et permet au PSG de reprendre la tête du championnat. © Jérôme Prévost/ L'Équipe
MARSEILLE, FRANCE - APRIL 27: Paul O'Connell of Munster wins the lineout ball during the Heineken Cup semi final match between Toulon and Munster at the Stade Velodrome on April 27, 2014 in Marseille, France.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Stadium of the Week – Estádio Municipal de Braga– S.C.Braga

When you design a stadium that is to be built by carving it out of a quarry you know that the result should be pretty spectacular. Sporting_Clube_BragaThat is certainly the case for the Estádio Municipal de Braga home of Portuguese side S.C.Braga. Built as a venue for Euro 2004 the stadium holds just over 30,000 people. Fans are housed in only two stands that both run parallel to the pitch (according to the original architect this is how football should be watched). Behind one goal is an open view of the city of Braga but it is at the other end that the unique nature of this stadium really kicks in. A huge rock face looms over one of the goal mouths, providing fans with one of the most fantastic views in all of football.


There is actually a ‘roof’ on the stadium (not that you see it when watching on TV). Hundreds of steel cables criss-cross over the stands to provide a canopy that was apparently inspired by South American Inca bridges.


Admittedly the idea of only having two stands might not be for everyone but you cannot deny just how different this stadium is compared to the hundreds of ‘identikit’ grounds you find all over the world. It has won several major awards for its design and S.C.Brage have, on the whole, enjoyed a successful spell at the Estádio Municipal.

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