FFR confirms Six Nations venue plan with Stade de France unavailable

Featured image credit: Bananna Wintour on Unsplash

The French Rugby Federation (FFR) has announced that stadiums in Marseille, Lille and Lyon will host Six Nations matches next year, with the Stade de France to be unavailable in the lead-up to the Olympic Games in Paris.

The Stade de France is the traditional home of the French rugby union team but it was announced in February that it will not be available for sporting and entertainment events for the entirety of 2024 heading into the Olympics.

The news left the FFR seeking host venues for next year’s Six Nations and the governing body has now confirmed plans to play at Marseille’s Orange Vélodrome (pictured), Lille’s Stade Pierre-Mauroy and Lyon’s Groupama Stadium.

The Vélodrome will host France’s match against Ireland on February 2, before Stade Pierre-Mauroy stages the clash against Italy on February 25. Groupama Stadium will then be the venue for France vs England on March 16.

It will mark the first time in Six Nations history that France has played matches in three different stadiums across the country. The Stade de France has never been without Six Nations rugby since opening in January 1998.

The three chosen stadiums are primarily football venues but will be used during France’s staging of this year’s Rugby World Cup, which takes place from September 8 to October 28.

Earlier this month, the French Football Federation announced the venues that will host national team matches during the 2023-24 season as it will be unable to use the Stade de France during the Rugby World Cup and in the lead-up to the Olympics.

The men’s national team will play matches at the Vélodrome, Stade Pierre-Mauroy and Groupama Stadium, as well as the Parc des Princes in Paris, Matmut Atlantique in Bordeaux and Stade Saint-Symphorien in Metz.