Stade Vélodrome is spiritual home to Olympique de Marseille Football Club of the French League. Due to sponsorship reasons, it is also known as the Orange Velodrome. This is a multi-purpose stadium and is located in Marseille, France.
With a capacity to host 67,344 spectators, it is the largest stadium in France. It was one of the venues for FIFA World Cup when France hosted the tournament in 1998. It also hosted the UEFA Euro Championships in 2016, including the semifinals between France and Germany.
Stade Velodrome was inaugurated on June 13, 1937 and it hosted the first friendly match between Olympique de Marseille and the Italian Torino Football Club. It became the official home to Olympique de Marseille when it replaced Stade de l'Huveaune.
Stade Velodrome is built on a site between downtown and the suburban areas of St. Giniez and Sainte-Marguerite on military land.
Stade Velodrome has hosted cycling competitions, but with time these races became less common and the cycling tracks were replaced with seats. When the Grant of Rights was announced for France to host the 1998 FIFA World Cup 1998, renovation process of Stade Velodrome saw an increase in pace.
The modifications to the stadium prior to FIFA World Cup saw the capacity to increase from 42,000 to 60,031.
In 1998, Stade Velodrome hosted a total of seven matches of the FIFA World Cup, including the quarterfinals between Netherlands and Argentina and also the semi-final between Brazil and Netherlands.
In 2016, Stade Velodrome hosted total of six matches of the European Championship, including the semi-final between France and Germany which witnessed France progress to the finals with a 2-0 win.
In 2016, Stade Velodrome hosted six matches at the UEFA European Championships, including the semi-final between the powerhouses of the European Football, France and Germany. Stade Velodrome is the only venue to host three semi-finals of this tournament.
Since expansion of the stadium in 2014, Stade Velodrome has set the record for the highest attendance with 65,252 spectators when Olympique de Marseille hosted Paris Saint Germain in League 1 on February 26, 2017.
Stade Velodrome was embroiled in a controversy during the European Championships, when hell broke loose during England and Russia group stage encounter. Russian ultras chased and attacked England fans right inside the stadium. This incident was the biggest talking point of the tournament.
Stade Velodrome has also been severely criticized by Olympique de Marseille for its architecture, especially for the lack of roof, poor acoustics and high degree exposure to strong mistral winds.