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Thursday, 23 August, 2001, 11:45 GMT 12:45 UK
Stade Louis II
The modern  Stade Louis II stadium was opened in 1985
The new Stade Louis II stadium was opened in 1985
BBC Sport Online's Stuart Hutchison profiles the Stade Louis II, where Liverpool and Bayern Munich will contest the Super Cup.

Monaco Football Club was formed in 1924 but it did not have a proper home until the first Louis II stadium was built in 1939.

This was one block away from the existing stadium, tucked in between the railway line and the harbour wall with only a few metres to spare for one stand and some narrow terracing.

From his palace on top of the adjoining rock face, Louis II commanded a perfect view of the pitch.

When it came to building a new stadium, the designers' big problem was a lack of space.

The Stade Louis II stadium
There is more to the stadium than meets the eye

Tthe principality of Monaco covers just 195 hectares and the authorities are miserly when it comes to granting planning permission.

So the key to building the new stadium lay in holding back the sea.

In the 1970s, a hugely expensive and complicated 15-year programme to reclaim 22 hectares of land by damming and backfilling the sea bed began.

When the project was completed, the area of land was called the Fontvielle Village.

Three precious hectares were designated for a stadium and award-winning Parisian architect Henri Pottier began to plan for a new ground.

Planning got underway in 1979, with construction starting two years later.

And in January 1985 Prince Rainier, Louis II's grandson and heir, declared this modern masterpiece open.

On arriving at the ground it appears to be no more than a collection of shops and offices.

But once inside you find a 1750 capacity car-park, an Olympic-sized swimming complex and a multi-purpose sports hall.

On top of this base sits the open air stadium with its artificial running track and grass pitch laid above the concrete roof of the car park.

Inside the arena - some nine metres above street level - three sides are covered by rooves with the fourth end open and capped off with nine arches.

This end was left deliberately open not only to provide views of the hills close by but to allow the strong mistral wind to ventilate the pitch.

The road immediately behind this end of the complex forms the unmarked border between Monaco and France.

It is designed to withstand earthquakes of up to 7.5 on the Richter scale and cost 600 million francs.


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