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French hopeful of having 10 stadiums for Euro 2016

Associated Press Modified: October 23, 2012 at 10:02 am •  Published: October 23, 2012

PARIS (AP) — Ten stadiums, one more than required, will be ready for the European Championship in 2016, says French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet.

French organizers need a minimum of nine stadiums for the tournament, which will be expanded from 16 teams to 24.

Eight are on track to be refurbished by late 2014 or June 2015, and Le Graet is confident Lens will fully renovate its existing stadium and Lyon will successfully build a gleaming new one in time.

"We're on track, even if one or two stadiums are a bit behind," Le Graet said on Tuesday at a tournament planning meeting in Paris. "Everything will be ready within the deadlines set by UEFA."

Seven-time French champion Lyon is moving out of the 41,000-seat Stade Gerland to the 58,000-seat Stade des Lumieres. Planning permission has been granted and it is expected to be ready for the 2015-16 season at an estimated cost of €381 million through private funding.

Stade de France needs only minor improvements, Lille already has moved into its new 50,000-seat stadium, and renovation on Marseille's new-look 65,000-capacity Stade Velodrome is well under way.

Bordeaux (42,000), Nice (35,000), Saint-Etienne (41,500), Toulouse (33,000) and the Parc des Princes in Paris (45,000) also need extensive renovation to increase capacity. The stadiums in Lens (39,000), Paris and Toulouse are yet to finalise deals for construction work.

French Sports Minister Valerie Fourneyron said the government will contribute €160 million to help stadium renovations.

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