French Ligue 1 football club Olympique Lyonnais has awarded a contract to design and build its proposed new arena to architectural firm Populous and Citinea, a subsidiary of Vinci Construction.

Lyon made the announcement in its financial results for the 2020-21 year, adding that the contract is subject to the satisfaction of customary conditions. Lyon owner and chairman, Jean-Michel Aulas, first revealed that the club was planning to develop a new arena back in February 2019.

The arena will be part of the OL Valley venture, the latest component of which saw a 23,000 m² leisure and entertainment centre open on June 9. The new arena is planned to have a capacity of between 12,000 and 16,000, and is projected to cost €141m (£120.6m/$165.9m).

Lyon said administrative procedures are being finalised, with a targeted construction start date of end-2021 and completion projected for end-2023. The club added that “favourable opinions” were received last month after the public enquiries, with Metropolitan Lyon expected to vote on the amended land-use plan at the end of September.

The club said: “This ultramodern and connected facility will be the largest of its kind in France outside of Paris and will complement the group’s existing events capacity. OL Groupe aims to host 80-120 events p.a. in the facility, including concerts, seminars and large professional trade shows, as well as sport and esport competitions (in particular EuroLeague basketball games).”

Lyon acquired a stake in the city’s basketball club, ASVEL Basket, in June 2019. Under the agreement, ASVEL will continue to play matches at the Astroballe arena until Lyon’s new venue opens. Thereafter, the team will play major EuroLeague matches at the new arena while continuing to use the Astroballe as its regular home.

Both Populous and Citinea were part of the team that delivered Lyon’s Groupama Stadium, which opened in January 2016.

Image: Olympique Lyonnais