Camille Chamoun Sports City StadiumEdit profile
Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium (Arabic: مدينة كميل شمعون الرياضية) is a 47,799 capacity multi-purpose stadium in the Bir Hassan area of Beirut, Lebanon. It is Lebanon's largest stadium. The Sports City Stadium is currently used mostly for football matches and it also has athletics facilities. It was built in 1957 by the Lebanese Ministry of Youth & Fine Arts in the presidency of Camille Chamoun. The opening game was a friendly played against FC Petrolul Ploieşti, where Lebanon won 1-0 through a goal scored by Joseph Abou Murad. The stadium was completely demolished in the Israeli Invasion of 1982. Consequently, former Lebanese PM "Rafic Al Hariri" initiated a project to rebuild the stadium in preparation for the 2000 AFC Asian Cup. The reconstruction received funding from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, with a respective contribution of 20 Million and 5Million U.S. Dollars. The other 75 Million U.S. Dollars were provided by the Lebanese government. The renovation process of the bordering "Pierre Gemayel Hall" was also included in the overall project.
The stadium spans 50,000 square meters of space with 77,000 square meters of covering roofs and seven kilometers of fences. A presidential gallery of 37 seats towers over the pitch, fenced off by bullet-proof glass. In addition to a 600 square meter parking lot was built underneath the stadium and another 20,000 square meter lot outside. The structure is capable of absorbing earthquakes up to 8.6 degree on the Richter scale. Moreover, administration offices, a complex for Lebanon’s Olympic committee and various other sports federations, ultra-modern press centers, clinics to handle emergencies among players and spectators with a parking lot for ambulances and fire engines, have been built beneath the stands.
An indoors sports complex north to the stadium was built with a 3,300-strong spectator capacity for basketball, volleyball and gymnastics. This part was scheduled to be completed by 1998.
Kvarner, the designing company, says that 25 British and 115 Lebanese engineers toiled along with 850 Lebanese and Arab workers to rebuild the sports city that was originally inaugurated by the late president Camille Chamoun in 1957.
After the reconstruction, the stadium hosted the 1997 pan Arab games where the Lebanese president Elias El Hrawi delivered an opening speech saying:"From Lebanon we say to the world; the Lebanese have returned to their heritage and unity, they have returned to build a Lebanon for heroes, youth and peace." The Lebanese PM also delivered a speech saying:"Construction won over destruction, and peace over war." Finally, the president of the Pan Arab Committee said: "This is a tournament of solidarity between the Lebanese people who have established credibility in their country and given rise to this great sporting event". "Bombs can destroy a city but can never shake the faith of believers." Additionally, the stadium was the main venue for the 1999 Arab Championship, the 2000 AFC Asian Cup, and recently the sixth Jeux de la Francophonie held from September 27 to October 3 of 2009.
There were plans of an Olympic swimming compound stretching over 13,500 square meters and three tennis courts. However, these plans were not followed through for undisclosed reasons.
Sharing the rank with Estadio Alberto J. Armando, the stadium is ranked 168th in a list of association football stadia by capacity.
- Overall capacity: 47,799 spectators
- Covered stands: 12,799
- Uncovered stands: 36,000
- Presidential stand: 37
- VIP stand: 1252
- First class stand: 3450
- Press stand: available
- Press reception hall: available
- Conference room: available (350 m²)
- Interview room: available
- Audio-visual press room: available
- Telecommunication room: available
- Commentary positions: available
- Players changing rooms: 4
- Referee changing room: 2
- Health club & drug detection: available
- Warming-up indoors: available
- Electronic display facilities: available
- Field specifications: same as Stade de France
- Number of gates: 18 external entrance gates, 56 internal entrance gates.
- Parking capacity: 2500 cars