The design for the new 16,000 capacity Olympique Lyonnais Groupe indoor venue in Lyon, France

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Global architectural design firm Populous has revealed its design for the new 16,000-capacity Olympique Lyonnais Groupe indoor venue in Lyon, one of the most technologically and environmentally advanced in Europe. The venue, to be called the LDLC Arena, will be the largest in France outside Paris. Scheduled for completion by the end of 2023, the Arena is expected to host between 100 to 120 events per year, including LDLC ASVEL’s Euroleague basketball matches, and futsal among others…


In July 2021, Olympique Lyonnais awarded the contract to design and build the new arena to Populous, which also designed Lyon’s 59,186-capacity Groupama Stadium and Training Centre, completed in 2016. The project is the latest stage in the ‘OL Valley’ venture, which also saw a 23,000m2 leisure and entertainment centre open next to the stadium in 2021.

The design for the new 16,000 capacity Olympique Lyonnais Groupe indoor venue in Lyon, France


The new, multi-purpose LDLC Arena has been designed by Populous to deliver a modern and sustainable entertainment venue for Lyon and a cultural centre for the wider region. Most importantly, it will enable the city to attract the world’s best musicians and performers. A long-term commercial agreement between entertainment company Live Nation and Olympique Lyonnais Groupe was signed in October 2021, paving the way for the construction of the venue to commence in January 2022.

The design for the new 16,000 capacity Olympique Lyonnais Groupe indoor venue in Lyon, France


This partnership began with the opening of the Groupama Stadium in 2016 and has seen it host concerts for a number of touring international artists such as Rihanna, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and The Rolling Stones. In terms of the LDLC Arena, the partnership will see an increase in the number of international acts that visit Lyon, drawing in spectators not only from the city itself but also from the surrounding region and beyond.

The design for the new 16,000 capacity Olympique Lyonnais Groupe indoor venue in Lyon, France

Area for booths

Scheduled for completion by the end of 2023, the new, modular and highly adaptable LDLC Arena is expected to host between 100 to 120 events per year, including LDLC ASVEL’s Euroleague basketball matches, futsal, tennis, esports competitions, large-scale seminars and trade shows, as well its programme of live concerts. It will have a capacity of 16,000 for concerts and 12,000 for sporting events. The arena will be equipped with three stands facing the stage, and a fourth removable one for use during sporting events.

The design for the new 16,000 capacity Olympique Lyonnais Groupe indoor venue in Lyon, France

Area Lounge

The newly released imagery reveals an arena that is striking in appearance yet sympathetic in its connection to its surroundings. This is achieved by the outer skin or ‘veil’ of the arena, which creates depth and breaks down the volume of the acoustic box. This striking cladding system, comprising textured panels set at different angles, softens the outline of the building and creates a dialogue with the landscape through its openings and perforations.

Internally, the innovative seating bowl design places every fan as close to the performance area as possible, creating an intense atmosphere for events, while the food and drink concessions on offer throughout the venue will deliver a hospitality experience that encourages fans to arrive at the arena earlier and stay later.

The design for the new 16,000 capacity Olympique Lyonnais Groupe indoor venue in Lyon, France

VIP lounge

Sustainability has been at the heart of the design process. Populous has optimised the layout of the internal spaces to minimise the footprint of the building and, in turn, reduce the volume of building materials needed. The shell of the building comprises an innovative double skin, which helps to regulate the temperature within the arena and minimises the need for climate control systems.

The arena will generate its own energy with 6,000s sqm of photovoltaic panels on the main roof. In the public realm surrounding the venue, 30% of the total area will be green space, with the scheme to include hundreds of mature trees and a large bird reservation to the north of the site.

Christopher Lee, Managing Director – EMEA, Populous, said:

“Our work with Olympique Lyonnais to create and deliver the world-class Groupama Stadium is something Populous is immensely proud of, so we are naturally very excited to be able to team up again to deliver the LDLC Arena.

“The focus again is on providing a great atmosphere and exceptional, best-in-class hospitality facilities that ensure the arena is a destination venue for the whole region and maintains the momentum of the ambitious and sustainable vision Olympique Lyonnais is delivering for the regeneration of this area of the city.”

Francois Clement, Senior Principal and leader of Populous’ business operations in France, said:

“We are proud to once again be working alongside the Olympique Lyonnais Groupe on the design and delivery of a world-class sports and entertainment venue for Lyon. LDLC Arena will be a huge asset to city as the focus of the Groupe’s ambitious OL Valley venture, which will provide the local community and wider region with anew centre for cultural activity. The arena will attract the best global talent in live entertainment and provide a new home for LDLC ASVEL befitting of one of French basketball’s most successful teams.”

Olympique Lyonnais futsal

Many of you might not know but Olympique Lyonnais FC has a futsal division which launched 3 years ago, and as a club, they embraced futsal as a development tool for football player development in their academy around a decade ago.


new 16,000 capacity Olympique Lyonnais Groupe indoor venue in Lyon, France

The futsal division/ team project started in the 2019-20 season, in the District of Rhône, a hotbed for futsal, and according to Rhône has nearly 4 District divisions, but an exception was made for Olympique Lyonnais futsal’s senior team to avoid three of these divisions, allowing the club to enter the D1 of the district division, the divisions of the district go from D4 to D1.  Though the French futsal community acknowledges the impact a club like Olympique Lyonnais can have on French futsal, questions rose in relation to fairness, and whether the club should have started on the district divisional ladder like any other team in D4. Questions were also asked about the speed at which FFF wants futsal to develop if more professional football clubs enter the sport with large budgets, and what this would mean for traditional futsal clubs who don’t have the means to compete with their finances. In their first season, the club won the District D1 and qualified for the regional 2 division, a division they had initially been trying to get access to but were told to start in District D1. The club’s winning performances continued into the 2020-21 season as they won the Regional 2 league, and they are now competing in the 2022-23  Regional 1 season which has gotten off to a very good start. The club are currently second:

The design for the new 16,000 capacity Olympique Lyonnais Groupe indoor venue

The announcement of the new indoor arena opening in 2023 will no doubt give the futsal players and coaching staff a real boast for the rest of the season. They will be hoping to secure a place in the D2 national division to celebrate the opening of the new arena and their place among the top two elite divisions, should the arena open its doors early enough in the year. If you have yet to watch the club play, below are highlights of a match against Goal Futsal Club who are currently in third place, and Olympique Lyonnais futsal in second place in the Regional 1 division:


French Futsal

If you don’t know about French Futsal, the country has a national championship which was first organized in the 1994-1995 season, the National Futsal Cup is open to all clubs with amateur or independent status regularly affiliated with the FFF, as well as the amateur sections of professional clubs, subject to their acceptance by their home league and one team per club.

It is played in 2 phases:

  • the elimination round organized by each Regional League, the proper competition (comprising 6 days), on the dates fixed in
    general calendar
  • It was renamed in 2021 as the National Futsal Cup Michel Muffat-Joly


There have been 25 editions of the competition:

  • the record holder for most wins is Sporting Clube de Paris with 6 in total
  • 607 clubs took part in the 2019-20 season
  • Since the creation of the competition, there have been 13 different winners


National Divisions

Regional and departmental

1/ regional competitions

  • During the 2019-2020 season, the 13 metropolitan leagues have at least one championship regional senior men’s futsal; 5 leagues have a single regional level, 7 leagues have 2 regional levels and a league with 3 regional levels; this represents approximately 350 teams.


2/ departmental competitions.

  • During the 2019-2020 season, 11 out of 12 leagues (excluding Corsica) have departmental championships. About 60 districts out of 90 have a departmental senior men’s futsal championship; this represents approximately 850 teams.


The Pinnacle of French futsal is the national divisions named D1 Futsal, and D2 Futsal divisions. The D1 was previously known as the “National Futsal Challenge” (2007-2009) and then the “French Futsal Championship” (2009-2013), the D1 Futsal has existed in its current form since the 2013-2014 financial year. This season, both divisions have 10 clubs participating in home and away matches. The D1 Futsal clubs are competing for the title, and to qualify for the UEFA Futsal Champions League.

Growth of participation in France

Here is a breakdown of the participation numbers by age group from 2010 to 2020:

The design for the new 16,000 capacity Olympique Lyonnais Groupe indoor venue

Source: FFF Interactive Guide for Futsal

As you can see, in 2020 the participation numbers across the country have risen to over 200,000 players. This information was taken from a practical and interactive guide published by the French Football Federation (FFF)  intended to help clubs structure themselves. You can download this guide via the related article link below:

Related article: Download the French Football Federation’s guide to help futsal clubs structure themselves

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