is a football (soccer) club from France.
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Olympique Lyonnais (; commonly referred to as simply Lyon, or OL) is a Football in France club based in Lyon. They play in France's highest football division, Ligue 1. The club was formed as Lyon Olympique Universitaire in 1899, according to many supporters and sport historians, but was nationally established as a club in 1950. The club's most successful period has been the 21st century. The club won its first ever Ligue 1 championship in Division 1 2001–02, starting a national record-breaking streak of seven successive titles. Lyon have also won a record seven Trophée des Champions, four Coupe de France titles and three Ligue 2.
Lyon have participated the UEFA Champions League 12 times, and during the 2009–10 UEFA Champions League, reached the semi-finals of the competition for the first time after three previous quarter-final appearances. Olympique Lyonnais play its home matches at the 40,500-seat Stade de Gerland in Lyon. In 2013, their new stadium will be ready, tentatively named New Olympique Lyonnais Stadium, in Décines-Charpieu, a suburb of Lyon. The club's home colours are white, red and blue. Lyon were a member of the G14 (football) group of leading European football clubs and are founder members of its successor, the European Club Association.
Olympique Lyonnais is one of the most popular clubs in France. About 11% of the country's population support the club. Lyon share this number with Paris Saint-Germain F.C. and only trail Olympique de Marseille. Lyon hold the honor of being the richest club in the country having generated an Deloitte Football Money League of €139.6 million for the Ligue 1 2008–09. The club's nickname, Les Gones
, means "The Kids" in Lyon's regional dialect of Arpitan language. The chairman of Lyon is Jean-Michel Aulas and club is managed by Rémi Garde. Olympique Lyonnais also has a successful Olympique Lyonnais (ladies) having won French women's football championship a record nine times. The women's team has also won three Challenge de France titles and the UEFA Women's Champions League in 2011.
Olympique Lyonnais was, initially, formed under the multisports club Lyon Olympique, who was originally formed in 1896 as Racing Club de Lyon
. Following numerous internal disagreements regarding the cohabitation of amateurs and professionals within the club, then-manager of the club Félix Louot and his entourage contemplated forming their own club. On 3 August 1950, Louot's plan came to fruition when Olympique Lyonnais was officially founded by Dr. Albert Trillat and numerous others. The club's first manager was Oscar Heisserer and, on 26 August 1950, played its first official match defeating CA Paris-Charenton 3–0 in front of 3,000 supporters. In just the club's second year of existence, Lyon was crowned champions of the second division moving up to the first division. The club maintained their first division place for the remainder of the decade, excluding a year's stint in the second division for the 1953–1954 season.
Lyon achieved moderate success during the 1960s and 70s with the likes of Fleury Di Nallo, Nestor Combin, Serge Chiesa, Bernard Lacombe, and Jean Djorkaeff playing major roles. Under manager Lucien Jasseron, Lyon won their first-ever Coupe de France title defeating FC Girondins de Bordeaux 2–0 in the Coupe de France Final 1964. The club also performed respectably in the league under Jasseron's reign until the French football Division 1 1965–66, when Lyon finished 16th, which ultimately led to Jasseron's departure. His replacement was Louis Hon, who helped Lyon win their second Coupe de France title after defeating FC Sochaux-Montbéliard 3–1 during the French football Division 1 1966–67. Lyon were managed by former Lyon legend Aimé Mignot heading into the 70s. Under Mignot's helm, Lyon won their third Coupe de France title during the French football Division 1 1972–73, after defeating FC Nantes 2–1.
In June 1987, Olympique Lyonnais was purchased by Rhône (department) businessman Jean-Michel Aulas who took control of the club with the objective of turning Lyon into an established Ligue 1 side. His ambitious plan, titled OL – Europe
, was designed to develop the club on the UEFA and back into the first division within a time-frame of no more than four years. The first manager under the new hierarchy was Raymond Domenech. The aspiring chairman gave Domenech blank cheque
to recruit whichever player they saw fit to help the team reach the first division. They proceeded to accomplish this feat in Domenech's first season in charge. Lyon achieved their zenith under Domenech when they qualified for the UEFA Cup. Unfortunately, for the remainder of his tenure the club underachieved. Domenech was later replaced by former France national football team Jean Tigana, who led the team to an impressive 2nd place finish during the Division 1 1994–95 season.
At the start of the new millennium, Olympique Lyonnais began to achieve success in French football. During this time, the club established themselves as the premiere club in France defeating Olympique de Marseille and Paris Saint-Germain F.C. and also becoming the country's richest club and one of the most popular. Lyon became known for developing promising talent, who would not only achieve greatness in France, but also abroad and FIFA. Notable examples include Michael Essien, Florent Malouda, Juninho Pernambucano, Cristiano Marques Gomes, Éric Abidal, Mahamadou Diarra, Patrick Müller, and Karim Benzema. Lyon won their first ever Ligue 1 championship in Division 1 2001–02, starting a national record-breaking streak of seven successive titles. During that span, the club also won Coupe de France Final 2008, their first 2001 Coupe de la Ligue Final, and a record six Trophée des Champions. The club also performed well in UEFA competition reaching as far as the quarter-finals on three occasions in the UEFA Champions League. Lyon's streak and consistent dominance of French football came to an end during the Ligue 1 2008–09, when they lost the title to Bordeaux.
Ownership and finances
Olympique Lyonnais is owned by Rhône (department) businessman Jean-Michel Aulas, who acquired the club on 15 June 1987. He serves as the founder and chief operating officer of CEGID (Compagnie Européenne de Gestion par l'Informatique Décentralisée). After ridding the club of its debt, Aulas restructured the club's management and reorganized the finances and, in a span of two decades, transformed the club from a second division team into one of the richest football clubs in the world. However, Aulas has been lambasted for, according to critics, running the club as if it were a business. The club currently operates on the Euronext under the name OL Groupe, initialed OLG.
In April 2008, business magazine Forbes
ranked Lyon as the thirteenth most valuable football team in the world. The magazine valued the club at $408 million (€275.6m), excluding debt. On February 2009, Lyon were rated in the 12th spot in the Deloitte Football Money League, reportedly bringing in an annual revenue of €155.7 million for the Ligue 1 2007–08, which ranks among the world's best football clubs in terms of revenue. However, since the announcement, the club's efforts to get the stadium off the ground has been hindered mainly due to slow administrative procedures, political interests, and various opposition groups, who view the stadium as financially, ecologically, and socially wrong for the taxpayers and community of Décines. The project is currently in limbo, but most estimate that the stadium will be completed by 2013.
On 22 September 2009, French newspaper L'Equipe reported that OL Land
had been selected by the French Football Federation as one of the twelve stadiums to be used in the country's bidding for UEFA Euro 2016. The FFF officially made their selections on 11 November 2009 and the city of Lyon was selected as a site to host matches during the tournament.
The Centre Tola Vologe is the training center and club headquarters of Olympique Lyonnais. It is located in the city of Lyon, not far from the Stade de Gerland. The facility is named after Anatole Tologe, commonly called Tola Vologe, who was a Lyon sportsmen and was murdered by the Gestapo during World War II. The facility is known for its high-level training and several prominent players have passed through the youth training center. These include Karim Benzema, Hatem Ben Arfa, Sidney Govou, and Ludovic Giuly. The center's hosts training sessions for the senior team and also serves as the home facility for the club's Olympique Lyonnais Reserves and Academy, youth (both male and female), and Olympique Lyonnais (ladies) sides, who both play their home matches at the Stade de Gerland. Former Lyon player Alain Olio is the current director of the centre.
Colours and kits
Since the club's foundation, the primary colors have been red, blue, and white, with the latter being the most predominant of the three. During the early years of the club's existence, Olympique Lyonnais primarily played in all-white uniforms. In 1955, Lyon officials decided to add a red and blue scapular and blue shorts to the combination. In 1961, the scapular tradition was disbanded and the two strips of red and blue were shaped horizontally. After six years, the club returned to the all-white uniforms, but kept intact the red and blue stripes, but, instead of keeping them horizontally, inserted them vertically and on the left side of the shirt. Lyon began wearing the shirt during the French football Division 1 1970–71 and wore the kits up until the French football Division 1 1975–76. For the Ligue 1 2002–03, chairman Jean-Michel Aulas announced that the club would return the kits. Lyon wore them, with several different modifications every year, for six of their seven consecutive titles.
In 1976, the club endured a drastic change to their kits, ditching the all-white uniforms for an all-red style, akin to English club Liverpool F.C.. The club wore the kits up until the French football Division 1 1989–90, with the French football Division 1 1977–78 and French football Division 1 1978–79 being excluded due to the club adding navy blue vertical stripes to the shirt that was deemed unsuccessful. Following the 1989–90 season, the club returned to the all-white kits and, at the start of the Division 1 1995–96, the club returned the vertical stripes, but opted to insert them in the center of the shirt, instead of to the left. The club kept this style until the Division 1 2001–02. For the 2009–10 Ligue 1, Lyon returned the horizontal red and blue stripes.
Olympique Lyonnais has a highly-active and loyal fanbase composed of many groups of supporters. One of the club's most notable supporters group is Bad Gones
(Bad Kids). The Bad Gones
were established in 1987 around the time of Jean-Michel Aulas's purchase of the team and occupy the Virage Nord area of the Stade de Gerland. During the Ligue 1 2007–08, the group celebrated its 20th anniversary. The Bad Gones
have a very strong reputation in Europe, due to the club's control of Ligue 1, as well as Lyon's continued appearances in the UEFA Champions League.
Another notable supporters group is the Cosa Nostra Lyon
, who occupy the Virage Sud area of the stadium. The group was created in 2007 as a result of a merger between two groups, the Lugdunums
, which had existed since 1993 and Nucleo Ultra
, which formed in 2000. The merger was created to achieve a sense of stability among supporters. The group is no longer recognized by the club, but continues to operate in a functional manner. Other support groups include the Hex@gones
, which was formed in 2000 and sit in the Virage Sud area, the Gastrogones
, who occupy the Jean Bouin stand, and the O'Elles Club
, who sit in the Jean Jaurès stand.
The club also has support groups that are based in areas outside of the city of Lyon. The Gones 58
supporters comes from the department of Nièvre in Bourgogne, while Gones 26
origins come from the department of Drôme in nearby Valence, Drôme. Three minor support groups in Septimagones
, Loups Marchois
, and Dauphigones
comes from the commune of Hérépian, the department of Creuse, and the department of Isère, respectively.
Statistics and records
The Morocco-born French midfielder Serge Chiesa holds Lyon overall appearance record having played in 541 matches over the course of 14 seasons from 1969 to 1983. Following him is former Goalkeeper (association football) Grégory Coupet who contested 518 matches over the course of 11 seasons from 1997 to 2008. Along with Sidney Govou, Coupet also has the distinction of being the only player in Lyon's history to win all four domestic French titles having been a part of all seven Ligue 1 titles, the club's Coupe de France triumph in 2008, the only Coupe de la Ligue win in 2001, and six of the seven Trophée Des Champions titles. Govou, Coupet, and Juninho Pernambucano share the honor of being only Lyon players who were a part of all seven title runs.
The club's all-time leading scorer is Fleury Di Nallo, who scored 182 goals while at the club from 1960 to 1974. Di Nallo is also third behind Chiesa and Coupet in all time appearances having played in 489 matches during his 14-year stint at the club. Despite Di Nallo's impressive goalscoring record, he doesn't hold the record for most goals scored during a league season. That distinction goes to Bourg-en-Bresse-born André Guy who notched 25 goals, which he attained in the French football Division 1 1968–69.
Lyon's biggest victory is 10–0, which occurred of two occasions against AC Ajaccio in the 1953–54 edition of the Coupe de France and, two seasons later, against Delle in the 1955–56 edition of the competition. Lyon's biggest league victory is 8–0 and also occurred on two occasions. The first being during the French football Division 1 1966–67 against Angers SCO and the second being against Olympique de Marseille during the Division 1 1997–98. The club's biggest victory on the UEFA occurred during the 1974–75 season. Lyon hammered Luxembourg-based club FA Red Boys Differdange 7–0.
Historically, Lyon has had a healthy rivalry with fellow Ligue 1 club AS Saint-Étienne, whom they contest the Derby du Rhône (Rhône derby) with. However, since the club's dominance at the start of the new millennium, they have established rivalries with Olympique de Marseille, FC Girondins de Bordeaux, Paris Saint-Germain F.C., and Lille OSC. Lyon also share minor rivalries with fellow Rhône-Alpes clubs Grenoble Foot 38 and AS Lyon Duchère.
The Saint-Étienne rivalry began during the 1960s when Lyon established permanent residency in the French first division. The Arpitan rivalry stems from both clubs close proximity of each other, separated by just 38 miles, as well as historical social and cultural difference between the two cities where they are based; Lyon cited as being more upper-class, while Saint-Étienne is cited as being more working-class.
Following the Ligue 1 2008–09, Lyon's long-term sponsorship agreement with the French multinational corporation Accor and Renault Trucks ended. On 22 July 2009, the Paris-based online bookmaker BetClic reached an agreement with Lyon to advertise on the club's kits. However, due to French law prohibiting online gambling, Lyon could not wear its kits displaying the BetClic logo. On 12 August 2009, just before the opening league match against Le Mans Football Club, the club was relieved of its BetClic-sponsored shirts by the Ligue de Football Professionnel, who warned the club that it risked forfeiting points if they wore them. Lyon complied and, since the Le Mans match, has worn sponsor-less shirts while playing on French soil. Lyon is free to wear its BetClic sponsored shirts outside of France: on 25 August 2009 the club unveiled the shirts in Belgium while taking on R.S.C. Anderlecht in the UEFA Champions League. On 15 January 2010, Lyon secured a sponsorship agreement with Japanese video game company Sony Computer Entertainment to display the company's PlayStation
logo on their shirts. The deal lasts until the end of the 2009–10 Ligue 1. In 2010, the French ban on online gambling advertising was lifted, and Lyon began wearing its Betclic-sponsored shirts on French soil.
Minor sponsors of the club include LG Group, APICIL, and MDA Électroménager. During Coupe de France matches, the club wear kits sponsored by SFR, Groupe Caisse d'Epargne, and Pitch as they are main sponsors of the French Football Federation. During Coupe de la Ligue matches, Lyon wear shirts with the Speedy Triangle logo on the front as they are main sponsors of the LFP.
Out on loan
For a complete list of former Olympique Lyonnais players with a article, see :Category:Olympique Lyonnais players.
– in recognition of Goalkeeper (association football) Luc Borrelli. Borrelli was killed in a road accident in February 1999.17
– in recognition of midfielder Marc-Vivien Foé. Foé died while playing for Cameroon national football team in the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup at Stade de Gerland, Lyon. The number was brought out of retirement in 2008 to allow Cameroonian player Jean Makoun to wear it, but after his departure the number was retired again.
UNFP Player of the Year
The following players have won the Trophées_UNFP_du_football Player_of_the_Year whilst playing for Lyon:
- Michael Essien – 2005
- Juninho Pernambucano – 2006
- Florent Malouda – 2007
- Karim Benzema – 2008
- Lisandro López – 2010
The following players have won the Bravo Award award whilst playing for Lyon:
- Karim Benzema – 2008
Olympique Lyonnais has had 22 permanent managers and two caretaker managers since the club's first appointed Oscar Heisserer as a professional manager in 1950. Heisserer also served as the first player-coach of the club, coming out of retirement to play during his final season at the club. The longest-serving manager in terms of time was Aimé Mignot, who managed Lyon for 8 years from 1968 to 1976. Alain Perrin, who managed the club from 2007–2008, was the first Lyon manager to achieve Double (association football).
Current coaching staff
Lyon has won Ligue 1 seven times, which ranks tied for 4th in French football. Lyon has the distinction of starting a national record-breaking streak of seven successive titles beginning with the Division 1 2001–02. The club has also been crowned champions of Ligue 2 three times, won four Coupe de France titles, one Coupe de la Ligue title, and a record seven Trophée des Champions. Though the club is a regular participant in the UEFA Champions League, they have only reached as far as the semifinals, which was accomplished during the during the 2009–10 UEFA Champions League. Lyon has won the UEFA Intertoto Cup, achieving this honor in 1997 UEFA Intertoto Cup.
- Ligue 1 (List of French football champions) (level 1)
--> Division 1 2001–02, Ligue 1 2002–03, Ligue 1 2003–04, Ligue 1 2004–05, Ligue 1 2005–06, Ligue 1 2006–07, Ligue 1 2007–08
- Ligue 2 (level 2)
- Union des Sociétés Françaises de Sports Athlétiques Lyonnaise Football in France
- Football in France (Southern Pool)
- Coupe de France
- Coupe de la Ligue
- Trophée des Champions
- UEFA Intertoto Cup
Olympique Lyonnais ladies
Olympique Lyonnais (ladies) currently play in France's top division, the Championnat de France de football féminin. The ladies team was set up in the 1970s as part of FC Lyon, but was attached to OL in the summer of 2004. They mostly play their home games at Plaine des Jeux de Gerland
, 400 metres from Stade Gerland, the main stadium.