Switzerland

Capital: Berne
Population: 7.8 million
Currency: Swiss Franc
Official Language: German, French, Italian
Borders: Germany (North), Austria and Liechtenstein (East), Italy (South), France (West)
GNP per Capita: $68,433 (4th in world)
Main Airport: Zurich Kloten Airport

Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation (Confœderatio Helvetica in Latin, hence its ISO country codes CH and CHE), is a federal republic consisting of26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe where it is bordered byGermany to the north, France to the west, Italy to the south, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east.

Switzerland is a landlocked country whose territory is geographically divided between the Alps, the Central Plateau and the Jura that yields a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi). The Swiss population of approximately 7.8 million people concentrates mostly on the Plateau, where the largest cities are to be found. Among them are the two global cities and economic centres of Zürich andGeneva. Switzerland is one of the richest countries in the world by per capita gross domestic product, with a nominal per capita GDP of $67,384.Zürich and Geneva have respectively been ranked as having the second and third highest quality of life in the world.

The Swiss Confederation has a long history of neutrality—it has not been in a state of war internationally since 1815—and was one of the last countries to join the United Nations. Switzerland is home to many international organisations, including the World Economic Forum, the International Olympic Committee, the Red Cross, the World Trade Organization and the second largest UN office. On the European level it was a founder of the European Free Trade Association and is part of the Schengen Agreement.

Switzerland comprises three main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, and Italian, to which the Romansh-speaking valleys are added. The Swiss therefore do not form a nation in the sense of a common ethnic or linguistic identity. The strong sense of belonging to the country is founded on the common historical background, shared values (federalism, direct democracy,neutrality) and Alpine symbolism. The establishment of the Swiss Confederation is traditionally dated to 1 August 1291; Swiss National Day is celebrated on the anniversary.

The Swiss Super League or Axpo Super League is the top tier of the Swiss Football League. The Swiss Super League is currently ranked 15th according to UEFA’s ranking of league coefficients, which is based upon Swiss team performances in European competitions.

The last ten champions of the Swiss Super League have been:-

2009  FC Zurich
2008  FC Basel
2007  FC Zurich
2006  FC Zurich
2005  FC Basel
2004  FC Basel
2003 Grasshoppers of Zurich
2002 FC Basel
2001 Grasshoppers of Zurich
2000 FC Gallen

The following teams are competing in the 2009/10 Swiss Super League:-

FC Aarau – Bahnhofstrasse 55, 5001 Aarau (Tel: +41 62 836 20 82) Web:http://www.fcaarau.ch
Stadium: Brügglifeld – 13,332 Capacity – 1,532 Seats
Seats – CHF 40 Standing – CHF 23
FC Aarau was formed on 26 May 1902 by workers from a local brewery. The early days of the club were a success and they won the Swiss championship in 1911/12 and then again in 1913/14. The club spent 25 years, from 1907-1933, in the top league but were relegated to the lower league and were unable to return to the top flight for a number of decades. In the 1980/81 season the club were able to return to the top league in the Swiss football pyramid after a 3-1 victory over Vevey-Sports. They have stayed there ever since and in the 1992/93 season they won theSwiss National League A managed by Austrian Rolf Fringer.

The club have also had success in the Swiss Cup finishing as runners up in 1930, 1989. In 1985 Aarau tasted their only victory in the Swiss Cup, coached by Ottmar Hitzfeld.  At the end of 2002 the club was almost in financial ruin. They were saved when the then Club President Michael Hunziker made 4,500 shares available to purchase. This succeeded in staving off the threat of liquidation.  FC Aarau is also known as a lucky team as they have been in the top flight since 1981 and barely escaped relegation on numerous occasions earning the club the nickname ‘Die Unabsteigbaren’ which translates into ‘those that cannot be relegated.’

FC Luzern – Horwerstrasse 34, 6005 Luzern (Tel: +41 317 00 80) Web: http://www.fcl.ch
Stadium: Stadion Allmend Luzern – 18,400 Capacity – 6,900 Seats
Seats – CHF45 Standing – CHF 24
FC Luzern were, founded in 1901. The club colors are blue and white, derived from the Canton of Lucerne and the City of Lucerne coats of arms.  Between 1934 and 2009, their home games were played at the Stadion Allmend, which had a theoretical capacity of 25,000. For security reasons however, the Swiss Football Association did not allow more than 13,000 to attend. Until the new Swisspor Arena is completed, FC Luzern are temporarily playing their home games in the Gersag Stadion located in Emmenbrücke.

Their greatest success was winning the Swiss Championship in 1989. They have won the Swiss Cup twice (1960 and 1992) and finished runners-up three times. They played in the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1992 and the UEFA Cup in 1997.  Lucerne was relegated from the Super League in 2002, and was promoted to the Super League again in 2006 after winning the Challenge League.  On the 30th of May in 2006 Lucerne played the Brazilian national football team in a World Cup warm up match. The game was played in the St. Jakob-Park in Basel. The final score was 8:0 to Brazil. This match was part of the Brazilian team’s two-week World Cup training session in the Canton Lucerne.

FC Sion – Rue des Echutes 38, 1950 Sion (Tel: +41 27 747 13 13) Web ://www.fc-sion.ch
Stadium: Tourbillion Sion – 20,200 Capacity – 8,700 Seats
Seats – CHF40 Standing – CHF19

FC Sion is a Swiss football team from the city of Sion. The club was founded in 1909. The club play their home games at the Stade Tourbillon. As of 2007 it has a limited capacity 16,263 seats, with 11,500 standing places. The Swiss Football Association limits the total capacity to 18,000 spectators, when the stadium could potentially hold 19,600. For this reason, chairman Christian Constantin has put plans in the work for construction of a new stadium in Riddes.

The club has won the Swiss Super League twice in 1992 and 1997 and the Swiss Cup 11 times, the most recent being in 2009. the decades of the 1970s and 1980s, the club won four Swiss Cups in 1974, 1980, 1982 and 1986. In 1991 the club won its fifth out of fiveSwiss Cups and the following year the club won its first Swiss Super League. FC Sion added to this success by winning the Swiss Cup back-to-back-to-back times from 1995-1997. The latter was half of the domestic double done by the club by winning the 1997 Swiss Super League. That season marked the highest number of points won by a team during a Swiss season.

Subsequently, the club experienced a slump following these successes and recurring financial problems. Although bankruptcy was averted by the club, after relegation the club was denied its professional license in 2003. After FC Sion attacked the National League and Justice, by order of the cantonal judge, FC Sion was reinstated into the second division in October 2003; while the league had already been going on for over three months. Three seasons later, in 2006, the club became the first second division team to win the Swiss Cup. FC Sion rejoined the elite at the end of this season. In 2009, FC Sion won its 11th Cup final in Switzerland, making them successful all 11 times in the final.

Football Club St. Gallen 1879 – Heiligkreuzstrasse 16, 9009 St Gallen (Tel: + 41 71 243 0909)
Web: http://www.fcsg.ch
Stadium: Stadion Espenmoos – 13,000 Capacity – 5,000 Seats
Seats – CHF 51 Standing CHF 19.50.
FC St Gallen is a Swiss football club based in the city of St. Gallen in the canton of the same name. It was founded in 1879, making it the oldest football club in Switzerland.  In 2008, the AFG Arena, located on the west side of town, replaced theEspenmoos ground in the east end. They have won 2 Super League titles in their 131 years and those trophies came in the years of 1903-1904 and the successful 1999-2000 campaign. The ‘biggest’ years in the history of St. Gallen were from 1999-2001, when the team was sensational Swiss champions in front of other clubs like Grasshoppers and Basel.After a disappointing relegation to the Swiss Challenge League, St. Gallen bounced straight back with an impressive promotion campaign in 2008–09, where they beat rivals Lugano to the title by eight points, earning a promotion back to the top flight.  St.Gallen bounced back strongly from the Swiss Challenge League with strong wins over FC BaselFC AarauNeuchâtel Xamax and Grasshoppers Zurich.  The stadium is located less than an hour by train from Zurich, although the ground is a 2 mile walk from the station or bus line 3.

C BellinzonaStadio Communale Bellinzona – Capacity: 6,000
Bellinzona is a Swiss football club based in Bellinzona. It was founded in 1904, and won the Swiss Super League in 1948. Since Bellinzona is an Italian speaking region, many Italian Serie A clubs loan youth players to the club to get first team experience. AS Romaare a parent club to Bellinzona.

Bellinzona was promoted to the Swiss Super League after beating St. Gallen by 5-2 on aggregate in the relegation play-off following the 2007-2008 season. Bellinzona will play at the top level in 2008-2009 season for the first time since the 1989-90 season. As finalists in the Swiss Cup, the team also qualified for the 08-09 UEFA Cup where they beat Ararat Yerevan of Armenia in the 1st qualifying round.

Neuchâtel Xamax Football Club – Rue de la Pierre-a-Mazel 10, 220 Neuchâtel (Tel: +41 32 725 44 28)
Web:
http://www.xamax.ch
Stadium: Stade de la Maladière Neuchâtel – 11,977 Capacity – All seater
Seats – CHF25 to CHF 50

Xamax is a Swiss football club, based in Neuchâtel. It was founded in 1970 as a merger between FC Cantonal(1906) and FC Xamax (1912). The club plays in red shirts, black short and red socks and are currently in the Axpo Super League, the first Swiss football league. They play their home matches at the Stade de la Maladière. The Xamax comes from Swiss international ‘Xam’ Max Abegglen.  The club won back to back Super Ligue titles in 1987 and 1988.  From the main station the ground is only a 10-15 minute walk. You can see the ground from the Train station.  There is no club shop and only a couple of bars by the ground that fill up very quick.  Tickets cost 25 or 35 CHF. 25 is behind the goal and 35 is on the sides.

FOOTBALL IN BASLE

ST JAKOBS PARK – CAPACITY : 30,000 ALL SEATER

About the St Jakob Stadium
When it was announced that the joint bid from Austria and Switzerland had been successful in hosting Euro 2008, the city council in Basel wasted no time in drawing up plans to provide a stadium that could form a legacy in terms of future European matches.  With less than a year to go to the tournament, you can see that the effort (and money) has paid off.

Similar in nature to the stadiums at Berne and Geneva, the outer shell of the stadium is hidden on one side by a shopping centre, but inside the stadium is very much as you would expect from the Swiss – compact, neat and efficient.  It is very British in design – four stands close to the pitch and excellent sight lines.  Behind each goal there are identical two tier stands, with a screen perched on the roof.  The south stand’s upper tier is smaller as there is a double layer of executive boxes here.  The North stand is a three tier affair, with the roof sloping up in the corners.

The concourses are the only issue – they are quite cramped and during halftime it can be a bit of a struggle to move from one side of the stand to another.

Who plays there? FC Basel – http://www.fcb.ch
Fussballclub Basel are currently the biggest and best supported club in Swiss football.  In terms of honours, they have won 11 National league titles – more than any other cup, and 7 cup wins.  They have also had more success in Europe than other teams from Switzerland, most recently under Christian Gross in 2002 when they beat Celtic, Liverpool, Deportivo La Coruna and Juventus on their way to the knock out stages of the tournament.

These victories all came at home, and re-inforced the fact that the club have become almost unbeatable at home.  On the 13th May 2006 the team lost a league match for the first time in over 3 ½ years  – an amazing run of 59 games.  Unfortunately, this game was decided by a last minute winner by FC Zurich which handed the team the title, from the grasp of FC Basel.

The club had modest success in their early years – winning the title in 1953 for the first time.  Their most successful period came in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s when the team won five titles in seven seasons, as well as two Swiss Cups.  They returned to success in the early 2000’s when Christian Gross joined the club after his unsuccessful spell at Tottenham Hotspurs.  He delivered the domestic double in 2002, and followed this up with league victories in 2004 and 2005.  Unfortunately this season, despite starting again as favourites, they allowed FC Zurich again to break away at the top of the league and 2nd place is their only reward for a season’s hard toil.

In 2008/09 it was more of the same as the team finished in third place behind Young Boys and FC Zurich.  The club this time lost patience in coach Christian Gross and he was sacked in June 2009.

How to get there
The stadium is located in the east of the city, hemmed in by the train line to Zurich, and the motorway.  It is almost the demarcation point between the centre and the suburbs.  The stadium is walkable – certainly from the area close to the main station it is no more than 30 minutes away.  On a matchday special football  shuttle trains run from the central station to a stop behind the north stand every 15 minutes.  Alternatively you can catch tram number 14 that runs through the centre of the old town – from Markplatz the stadium stop St Jakob is 8 stops or around 11 minutes away – tickets cost CHF3 each way.

If you are drivng from out of town then it may be easier to head to the areas to the east of the stadium close to the tram line and then use this excellent method of transport in.

For an overview of where the stadium is, and who else plays in the city then go to Footiemap.com to see the overview map of football in Basel.

Getting a ticket
Domestic football in Switzerland is not necessarily the most passionate affair.  Attendances tend to be quite low, and the big four of Young Boys, FC Basel and the two Zurich clubs fail to attract on average more than 50% stadium utilisation, meaning that tickets are always available on the day.

FC Basel are the best supported team at the current time in Switzerland, and have an average attendance north of 20,000.  However, with a stadium that can hold over 30,000 sell outs are exceptionally rare.  Tickets can be purchased from the kiosks around the stadium on a matchday, or if your German is good via the official website.  If you are buying from the UK then you will need to pick the ticket up on the day of the game from the Fanshop on the west side of the stadium.  Ticket prices range from CHF to CHF.  The “hardcore” fans are located in the east lower tier.  A good seat for the neutral is in the north stand upper tiers.

Getting around
Trams are definitely still the king in Basel.  They run at regular intervals throughout the day and link most parts of the city you will need to go to.  Buses supplement the tram routes.  Trams 8, 10 and 11 run from the station down to the Old Town.  A one day ticket for all transport options is CHF8 – simply press the “T” button on the ticket machines.

Nearest Airport – Basel Mulhouse Airport (BSL)
Telephone:              +41 61 325 31 11
Website:                  http://www.euroairport.com

Now this is a strange concept.  An airport that can lay claim to being in two different countries.  Basel (Swiss) Mulhouse (French) Airport has been designed to allow customs and immigration into both countries – once you find yourself in the baggage reclaim hall you will see clear signs either directing to towards French (and German) customs, or Swiss customs.  If you are heading for Basel city centre then follow the Swiss signs.  The number 50 bus leaves from directly in front of the terminal building every 30 minutes and the CHF3.60 tickets can be bought from the machines at the bus stop.  The bus runs to the main station in around 20 minutes.

Currently the main budget airline serving the airport is Easyjet with daily flights from London Luton and Stansted.  British Airways fly here from London Heathrow on a daily basis, and Swiss Airlines from London City.

FOOTBALL IN BERNE

YOUNG BOYS BERNE FC – STADE DE SUISSE – CAPACITY: 32,000 ALL SEATER

About the Stade de Suisse
The Stade de Suisse, or to give it its proper name, the Wankdorf Stadium is one of the elite number of stadiums in Europe that can lay claim to have hosted  World Cup Final, when in 1954 it staged the game between West Germany and Hungary, forever known as the “Miracle of Berne”.  In 2008 the bit time will return to the stadium as the Stade de Suisse will group matches and a Semi-Final of Euro 2008.

The stadium is certainly very smart and befitting for such a complete redevelopment.  It is a complete two tier “box” ground, with each stand almost identical.  This means that views are pretty standard from wherever you are sitting.  Leg room is also very reasonable.  One of the unusual things about the stadium is the next generation artificial surface that is used.  Certainly the look and feel of the pitch is very different to the old style Astroturf pitches.  In terms of other facilities for fans, the concourses are very wide, and there are plenty of concession stands.  There are also two large screens that sit on the roofs of the stands behind the goals, allowing everyone in the stadium a view of the screens.

The original stadium, the Wankdorf, which opened in 1925 was initially built as a new home to the Young Boys Berne team.  It was initially built with a capacity of 20,000, but was soon expanded during the next decade or so as the team started to make progress.  When Switzerland were chosen to hold the 1954 World Cup Finals, the stadium was further expanded to hold 64,000.  Facilities were pretty basic – one covered main stand and three open terraces, and this remained in place until the stadium hosted its last game in July 2003, before construction started on the new stadium in its place.

As with a number of other stadiums in Switzerland, there is a shopping centre incorporated into the stadium, with the south side of the stadium having a real multi-purpose feel with shops, cafes and restaurants that are located on the wide outer concourse area.

Who plays there? BSC Young Boys Berne –http://www.bscyb.ch
Tracing their roots back to 1898, YB are one of the oldest professional clubs in Switzerland.  When the first national league was proposed in the early part of the century, it was only a matter of years before the club rose to the forefront in Swiss football – capturing a trio of Championships in 1909, 1910 and 1911.  Originally the club had been formed as a football club, but in 1925 the club incorporated a number of other spots to become a true Sporting club – reflect in the change of name to Young Boys Berner Sports Club.  This change of name also co-incided with the move to the new Wankdorf sporting complex in the north of the city that has been their home every since.

The club were regular winners of the national championship over the next few decades to cement their position as Switzerland’s top club.  After the Championship in 1929, and a subsequent first Swiss Cup victory in 1930, the club then went through a real barren spell, where they had to wait nearly 25 years for another major honour.  Under the influence of Albert Sing, who was to lead the club for nearly 14 years, the team finally broke their domestic drought with a Championship in 1957, going onto win the title for four successive seasons.

Again the club could not build on this success, and within a few seasons they had returned to mid table mediocrity, falling behind the likes of Servette, Grasshoppers and rivals FC Basel.  The club won their final title in 1986, and a cup victory the following season has proved to be the final honour the club has won.  Their European pedigree has been limited to the occasional UEFA Cup outing, although in 1988 they did reach the European Cup Winners Cup quarter final.

This season, with Swiss legend Hakan Yakin deciding to stay with the club, much was expected.  However, they have not found the consistency again, and the best they can hope for is a 3rd place finish behind FC Zurich and FC Basel – something that does not befit a team playing in such palatial surroundings.
How to get there
The stadium is located in the north area of the city, close to the main railway line and the Autobahn A6.  On a matchday special buses run from the train station (Bahnhof) direct to the stadium, which compliment the route number 20 which runs every 5 minutes.  A special shuttle train also runs from the Bahnhof to the Wankdorf station – taking less than 5 minutes to make the journey.  Other bus routes that run close to the stadium are 28, 40 and 41.

For an overview of where to watch football in Berne, and in Switzerland in general then go to Footiemap.com.

Getting a ticket
Domestic football in Switzerland is not necessarily the most passionate affair.  Attendances tend to be quite low, and the big four of Young Boys, FC Basel and the two Zurich clubs fail to attract on average more than 50% stadium utilisation, meaning that tickets are always available on the day.

This season Young Boys have averaged around 17,000 meaning there are around 15,000 spare seats on matchday.  The hardcore fans, as much as they get hardcore in Switzerland are based in the east lower tier.  Tickets can be purchased online from the website https://ticket.stadesuisse.ch.

You can also reserve tickets via email at ticket@stadedesuisse.ch or by phone +41 31 344 88 77.  Ticket prices start from CHF 20 in the lower tier behind the goal to CHF50 in the Upper tiers along the side of the pitch.  A good bet for the neutral is the lower side tiers which are CHF34.  Tickets go on sale on the day of the game from the windows on the corner of all stands.  Internet bookings are collected from the South west corner kiosks.

Getting around
Berne is a small city and most of the old town where the attractions, restaurants and bars are located is easily walk able.  However, buses and trams do run to most corners of the city, and a single ticket is CHF3.80 or a daily ticket is CHF12.  To purchase a daily ticket simply press the T button on any of the red ticket machines you will see next to bus and tram stops.  Payment can only be in coins though.

Nearest Airport – Berne Belp Airport (BRN)
Telephone:              +41 31 960 21 11
Website:                  http://www.flughafenbern.ch

Berne’s small airport is located in the small village of Belp, around 6 kilometres east of the city.  It is not served by many flights – with only four scheduled airlines currently using the airport.  The daily service from the UK is provided by Darwin Airline from London City, although FlyBE offer flights on some days from Birmingham International and Southampton.

From the airport you can catch the airport bus to Bern railway station that runs every hour and costs CHF15.  Alternatively, catch the local bus to Belp station for CHF3 and then get the train into the city.  The other nearest main airport is Basle Mulhouse (connected to Berne by a twice an hour train which takes 50 minutes).

FOOTBALL IN GENEVA

Servette – Stade de Geneva – Capacity: 30,000 All Seater

The Stadium – Stade de Geneva
16 Route des Jeunes, CH-1227 Carouge
Located quite a way to the south of the city in the suburb of Lancy, the new Stade de Geneva is shoe horned between the La Praille shopping & entertainment complex, the main railway line and an industrial estate.  It was opened in March 2003 for FC Servette, after it was deemed that their previous ground in Les Charmilles was too small (9,250) to be considered for a venue for the Swiss’s bid to host Euro 2008 with Austria.  When the two countries were awarded the games in 2002, a suitable site was found for the 30,000 seater stadium and work quickly commenced.

The stadium offers excellent unobstructed views from all sections, although there are perimeter fences in the stands behind the goals.  Legroom is also generous.  Hanging down from the roof at the back of the south stand is a huge TV screen which can be seen by everyone, even if it means craning your neck in the seats underneath it.  The concourse areas are wide and spacious, meaning that crowding is kept to a minimum.  Concession stands also have multiple serving points and queues move quickly.

The stadium has a real feel of some of the new English grounds such as Southampton’s St Mary’s stadium and Coventry’s Ricoh Arena.  It has  one stand that is noticably bigger than the others, with the roof curving down to meet the end stands but little has been done or incorporated to make it have a unique feel. Next to the stadium is the newly constructed Ramada Encore hotel which will become very popular once the tournament in June 2008 commences.  The city’s government has big plans for the whole development – In fact, the presence of FC. Servette as tenants is almost forgotten.

The first big match the stadium hosted was the friendly between Argentina and England in November 2005.  A sell out 29,500 crowd watched an absolute classic match with two Michael Owen goals in injury time giving England a 3-2 win.  The match was also an excellent experience in policing tactics for the Swiss in the build up to Euro 2008.

Who Plays there? FC Servette –http://www.servettefc.ch
Once viewed as the powerhouse of Swiss football, FC Servette have flown the flag of Geneva proudly on a domestic and a European stage for many years.  However, the off the field developments in the opening of the brand new Stade De Geneva have seen the club plunge into despair on the pitch.  The once famous club, and Swiss champions of 1999 now ply their trade in the third level of Swiss football, after bankruptcy in February 2005 meant enforced relegation for the club.

Just two seasons ago the team finished in third place in the Swiss Super League, thus qualifying for the UEFA Cup.  Servette are not the first big club in Switzerland to befall the fate of enforced demotion.  Local rivals Lausanne Sports went the same way in 2003, although they have recovered slightly by climbing up to the 1st Division.  Servette have at least started the season in this unfamiliar league well, with 9 wins from their first 15 matches seeing them head the table in mid November.  However, the fans have deserted the club since the move to the new stadium and quite what effect the 2000-odd fans have seated in the 30,000 new stadium is unclear.

The club were originally formed in 1890, and was a regular league championship winner during the early years of the century.  By 1930, when the league became professional, Servette had won the championship 6 times.  In the next thirty years the club became the most famous in the country with further titles in 1933, 1934, 1940, 1946 and 1950.  After winning the title in 1961 the club gained a place for the first time in the European Champions Cup.  A 7-1 first round win against Hibernians of Malta was followed by a narrow 5-4 defeat on aggregate to the Czech’s Pribram.  The following season they went out at the Preliminary round stage on away goals to Feyenoord.

The golden period for the club came in the mid 1970’s.  In 1979, the club achieved an unparalleled domestic quadruple when it won the League championship, the Swiss Cup, the League cup and the Alpine cup.  They nearly made it 5 honours but fell at the quarter final stage in the European Cup Winners Cup to Fortuna Dusseldorf.  A few more honours were captured in the 1980’s including a further league title in 1985, and a Swiss Cup in 1984.  Glory in Europe was still absent for the famous maroons, although a defeat to Alpine rivals Sturm Graz on aggregate in the 1999 Champions League final qualifying round could have been so different, as the group draw saw the Austrians drawn in a group with Marseille and Manchester United.

The club’s last honour, the 2001 Swiss Cup now seems along time ago for the loyal fans of the club.  Let’s hope that the move to the new stadium does bring some much needed luck to the team, and return to the national (and international) stage they graced for so long.

How to get to the Stade de Geneva
The stadium hasn’t really been built with public access in mind.  It is located to the south of the city centre in the Lancy area.  On matchdays public transport is free for ticket holders.  The ground can be reached in a number of ways:-

By Tram – Tram’s 12 and 13 run from the centre of Geneva to close to the stadium.  The trams terminate at Bachet de Pesay, a five minute walk to the south of the stadium.  The journey from the city centre should take around 20 minutes.  From Cornavin station tram number 15 runs in the direction of Lancy-Pont-Rouge in around 15 minutes.  From here the stadium is a 10 minute walk, following the pathway alongside the dual carriageway.

By Bus – There is a direct bus from Cornavin station on matchdays.  Route D runs about every 10 minutes and takes 20 minutes, dropping you off opposite the stadium’s east stands.

By Train – Whilst there is a platform behind the main stand where trains run back to the city centre, there are currently no plans to use this for matchday services.  Instead catch a train from Cornavin to Lancy-Pont-Rouge & then walk the 10minutes or so down the side of the dual carriageway.

From the airport, there is an easy, if time consuming way to reach the stadium via Bus 18 which runs every 20 mins from outside Arrivals to stops close by Lancy-Pont-Rouge.  Allow 40 mins for this journey in matchday traffic.  For big games, such as when England took on Argentina in November 2005, special buses were provided after the match to transfer fans back to the airport.   A taxi from the airport to the stadium will cost around CHF40 (£22).

For a more indepth view as to who plays where in Geneva go to Footiemap.com to access their city football map.

How to get a ticket for the Stade de Geneva
If you are planning on coming to town to see a Servette match then you don’t have to worry about buying tickets in advance.  With average crowds of less than 2,000 and a capacity of 30,000, you have a choice of quite a few seats!!  If you are in town to watch an international match, or one of the numerous friendlies that will be played at the stadium in the run up to Euro 2008, then tickets can be purchased online from http://www.resaplus.ch.  During November 2005, the stadium hosted the sell out international between England and Argentina, as well as well attended game between Italy and Ivory Coast.

Around the Stade de Geneva
The new stadium is located in the southern suburbs of the city, close to the area known as Carouge.  It is next door to the La Praille shopping and entertainment complex, Apart from a American-themed diner in the cinema, there are no bars in the vicinity of the stadium.  Click here to buy the full guide to Geneva.

Getting Around
There is no metro system in Geneva, but the town’s small size and good bus coverage ensure it is easy to get around. Utilising the local bus system is the best way to get about the city if you prefer to use public transport rather than walking. The city is divided into zones and bus prices reflect this. The bus system is highly efficient and tickets can be bought from vending machines at bus stops and newspaper stands. Automatic ticket machines only accept coins and do not give change.  Ferry shuttles also operate between the right and left banks of Lake Geneva daylight hours. Boats sail every 10 to 30 minutes for a nominal charge and provide tourists with the perfect photo opportunity of seeing Geneva from the water.

Nearest Airport – Geneve-Cointrin (GVA)
Telephone:              +41 22 717 71 11
Website:                  http://www.gva.ch

Geneva airport is located 3 miles to the west of the city centre.  The easiest way to reach the city centre is via the regular train from the airport station to Cornavin station.  Journey time is around 7 minutes. Bus number 10 also does the trip to downtown in 20 minutes.  A taxi would cost around CHF35.

The main UK carrier who serves Geneva is Easyjet, who have their main European hub here.  They offer daily flights to over 20 destinations including Belfast, Bournemouth, Bristol, Doncaster, Liverpool, East Midlands, London and Newcastle.  The airport is also served by British Airways from London City and Heathrow, as well as national carrier Swiss.

FOOTBALL IN ZURICH

The Letzigrund Stadium – Capacity: 32,000 All Seater

About The Letzigrund Stadium
The new stadium in the western suburbs of Zurich represents the ambition of the Swiss football authorities in creating a real legacy from the 2008 tournament.  Zurich has always had a fierce rivalry between FC Zurich and Grasshoppers, and so the authorities had a real difficult job to decide whether to develop either stadium or simple build a new one.  In the end they chose to completely rebuild the Letzigrund, home of FCZ since 1925.

The new stadium opened with the Zurich derby in September 2007 and is certainly one of the most distinctive being used in the tournament in 2008.  It has been primarily designed as a multi-purpose venue and so there is an athletics track, but the stands have certainly been designed to support football as well.  Spectators enter the stadium from wide concourses at the top of the stands – i.e with the pitch being built some way below ground level.  All of the views are unobstructed and there are two large TV screens on the North and South stands.  The most unique feature of the stadium however are the floodlights.  In total there are 32 floodlight spikes which pierce the roof and act both as supports as well as lighting.

When the Letzigrund stadium is complete in 2007, attention will turn to the Hardturm stadium and it will be completely redeveloped as a 30,000 all seater football only stadium.  Currently the Hardturm has a capacity of 17,700.  The stadium is a strange affair with three stands joined together in a similar shape to Nuremburg’s Frankenstadion.

Who plays there?
The rivalry that exists in Swiss football can never be called bitter, but in Zurich it is the closest you can get to a real derby.  The two clubs have existed for over 80 years separated by the main railway line, but recent events have thrown them together, initially at the Hardturm whilst the new Letzigrund is being constructed, and then when Stade de Zurich is being built in 2008, the two clubs will move into FC Zurich’s Letzigrund.

Grasshopper Zurich – http://www.gcz.ch are the most successful of the two, winning the Swiss Championship on 27 occasions, to FC Zurich’s 11 occasions.  However, the balance of power currently lies with the latter as they have won back to back championships in 2006 and 2007.  They also have a better European record, reaching the European Cup semi-finals in 1964 and 1977.

Grasshoppers were formed in 1886, making them one of Switzerland’s oldest clubs by Englishman Tom Griffiths, and they certainly dominated some of the early Swiss seasons by winning the championship on four occasions by 1905.  Their golden period came during the 1990’s when external sponsorship monies funded an expansion of the team to include such players as Shaun Bartlett, Hakan Yakin and Christian Sforza, and coaches including Leo Beenhakker, Christian Gross and Ottmar Hitzfeld.  During this period they won six Swiss Championships in an 8 year period as well as two Swiss Cups.  However, it did take them four attempts to get past the preliminary rounds before they reached the Group Stages of the Champions League in 1995.  However, they finished bottom of a group featuring Ferencvaros, Ajax and Real Madrid.  The following season they faired slightly better by finishing 3rd in their group ahead of Rangers but behind Ajax and Auxerre.

Since then they have had to make do with the occasional UEFA Cup campaign, although they can claim the Intertoto Cup as an honour in 2006.

FC Zurich – http://www.fcz.ch were formed ten years later in 1896 and spent many years in the shadows of their cross city rivals.  In fact up until 1963 they only had two Swiss Championships to their name in terms of honours.  However during the 1960’s they started to dominate Swiss football, registering the title in 1963, 1966 and 1968 as well as two Swiss Cup wins during this period.  In 1963 they entered the European Cup for the first time, and surpassed all expectations by reaching the Semi-Finals by beating Dundalk, Galatasaray and PSV before losing 8-1 to the team of the century Real Madrid.

The club then went through another period of domination under Timo Konietzka during the 1970’s.  They won the Swiss Cup in 1972 and 1973 before winning back to back titles in 1974 and 1975.  In 1976 they won the domestic double for the first time.  The following season they enjoyed another great run in the European Cup beating Glasgow Rangers, TPS and Dynamo Dresden before losing to eventual winners Liverpool in the semi-final.

Apart from a couple of sporadic honours in the 1980’s the club had to wait until the stewardship of Lucien Favre before they really tasted honours again by winning the 2006 title with an injury time goal against champions elect FC Basel that resulted in some ugly scenes on the pitch in Basel.  Their subsequent Champions League campaign only lasted 180 minutes as the team lost 302 on aggregate to Salzburg in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League.  After last season’s Championship win the team will be hoping for a better fairing in Europe and hopefully a Champions League Group Stages spot for the first time especially after winning the title again in May 2009.

How to get there
The Letzigrund is located in the western fringes of the city centre, almost adjacent to the main railway line.  The new stadium will have enhanced public transport access, although for some of the big games during Euro 2008 it may be quicker to walk to the stadium by following Badenerstrasse all the way down from Wersstrasse in the old town.  The walk should take around 20 minutes.  Tram line 2 and 3 also run at regular intervals down Badenerstrasse to the Letzigrund.

The nearest train station to the Letzigrund and the Hardturm is Hardbrücke which is one stop from the central station.  For the former head southwards across the railway bridge and take third right into Bullingerstrasse and the stadium is 400metres away.  For the Hardturm head north out of the station and then take the first major left into Pfingstweidstrasse for the stadium.

For a more indepth view as to who plays where in Zurich go to Footiemap.com to access their city football map.

Getting a ticket
Tickets for every match at Euro 2008 have been sold out for many months, and the only way now of getting tickets is by applying through one of the nations football associations once they have qualified.  Whilst tickets for matches may become available after the draw is made on the 2nd December, it is unlikely that a further sale to the public will yield more than a few hundred tickets per venues.

In terms of getting tickets for domestic matches, then you will have no problems in getting tickets on the day of the game.  FC Zurich are the better supported of the two clubs, but they still only get an average home attendance of 10,000 even when playing at the Hardturm.  The most popular match is the Zurich derby but even this does not sell out.  Currently tickets can be purchased in advance from http://www.ticketcorner.com or by calling 0848 800 800 (from Switzerland only) and cost 20CHF for the Kurve’s behind the goal, to 50CHF for a seat in the main stand.  No decision has been made about the cost of tickets in the new stadium.

Getting around
Zurich is famous for its highly efficient, clean and safe public transport system. The network includes trams, buses, S-Bahn and pleasure boats that traverse the lake during the summer.  There are maps posted at most tram and bus stops, although the Tourist Information Office located in the main station can provide these free of charge as well as selling you the Tageskarte day pass for 7.80CHF.

Nearest Airport – Zurich Kloten Airport (ZRH)
Telephone:              +41 43 816 2211
Website:                  http://www.zurich-airport.com

Zurich airport is located around 7 miles outside of the city centre in the area known as Kloten.  The airport is Switzerland’s largest and includes daily flights from the UK withCityJet from London City, British Airways from London Gatwick and Heathrow, Easyjetfrom London Gatwick and Luton, Helvetic from Manchester, Swiss European from Birmingham, London City and Manchester and of course Swiss International from London Heathrow.

The airport handles over 19million passengers a year and is one of the best in terms of facilities for passengers in Europe.  To reach the city centre then head down to the railway station under the terminal which transfers you to the Hauptbahnhof every 15 minutes in less than 10 minutes.

Thanks to http://www.colours-of-football.com for allowing us to use their graphics.

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