It was at the initiative of Mr Roger PETIT, Secretary General of Standard de Liège, that the “Country Hall” was constructed at the end of the 1960s, on the site of Bois Saint Jean, which was then the property of the club.

This large and ahead-of-its-time hall was inaugurated on 25 April 1970.

Standard de Liège dreamed “big” with significant sections devoted to basketball, swimming and tennis, in addition to football.

The “Standard Boule d’Or” basketball section, which is presided over by the duo Albert Tilkin and Fernand Rossius, gave the Country-Hall its first taste of sporting glory.

In fact, each year, the “Standard Boule d’Or” qualifies for the European games. It even won the double championship and the Belgian cup in 1976, with coach Gaston Deckers leading the team.

The organisation of the Challenge Round and many international meetings of the
Korac Cup took place in this hall, which is called the “Temple of Basketball”.

Furthermore, high-level boxing matches were organized here, including a fight with Jean-Pierre Coopman.

In addition to variety shows, Charles Aznavour, Claude François and Johnny Halliday also performed there (to name just a few), as well as “Holiday on Ice” figure skating and ice-skating shows.

With the energy costs becoming too significant (not much has changed!), Standard de Liège only wanted the basketball club to use the Country Hall for its important meetings; for this reason, a second hall was built (which is now the VIP space in the Country Hall) for smaller basketball matches. This hall was never homologous because it was built without complying with the regulations of the federal authorities for basketball. Since then, the basketball club has moved to the Theatre des Sports de Comte.

Tennis then took basketball’s place in the Country Hall; Mr Darcis, the father of Steve, took over management of the site.

In 1992, Standard de Liège experienced several financial problems. The French Community purchased the site, known as “Bois Saint-Jean” for a sum of nearly 90 million Belgian francs, and entrusted it to ADEPS as an extension to the “Blanc Gravier” sports centre.

On 21 April 2004, the government of the French community agreed to transfer its ownership of Bois Saint-Jean to the SLF (leasing and financing society; now known as ECETIA) in order to make various investments that would encourage sporting practices.
In concrete terms, a 50-year emphyteutic lease was established between the two parties on 20 May 2004, with the payment of an annual fee of €150,000.

This emphyteutic lease covers two spaces: on the one hand, the land needed for the construction of a training centre for the “Standard de Liège” group (R.L Dreyfus Academy) with an annual fee of €50,000 and, on the other hand, the old Country Hall, the administrative building and the adjacent land, for an annual fee of €100,000.

On 29 April 2004, the Walloon government agreed to grant subsidies for a project that would completely redevelop the site, within the framework of an alternative financing programme.

The planned investment foresees the construction of a multi-purpose complex with an adjustable hall that seas 5,500 in its “sports” configuration and 7,500 in its “show” configuration (the Country Hall Liège).

In relation to the initially planned project, various complementary works have been carried out in order to improve the quality of the infrastructure. This led to the construction of a complementary omnisports hall with a capacity of 750, a VIP section, five tennis courts and a car park with approximately 1,000 places. The administrative building has been partially renovated. The complementary omnisports hall is fully equipped and the multi-purpose complex (the Country Hall Liège) has been equipped with a retractable forum that allows its transformation from one configuration to another in 24 hours.

The infrastructure was inaugurated on 18 October 2005.

The total cost of the investment, minus regional subsidies (€9.2 million) amounted to €25.1 million including VAT.

Originally, a management company (“Societé de gestion du Bois Saint-Jean” S.A.) was created. The Province of Liège and the intercommunal “SLF Participation” were the founding members and were joined, in 2007, by the French Community as a majority partner.

Since its inauguration, the renovated “Country Hall Liège” has hosted numerous national and international shows to the satisfaction of the relevant organisers.

Examples include :
The World Table Tennis Championships, the Fed Cup and the Davis Cup in tennis, a world boxing and more, but also renowned artists like Julien Clerc, Jean-Louis Aubert, Deep Purple, Charles Aznavour, Yannick Noah, Christophe Mae, Florent Pagny, Maftre Gims, Laurent Cerra, etc. All this while still being permanently occupied by the Basket Club de Liège, which is now in division one.