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How we chose FourFourTwo's 100 Best Football Stadiums in the World

Football is our religion. These are our temples. 

Welcome to FourFourTwo’s celebration of the iconic places where we connect with the game we love. Whether you call them stadiums, stadia (more on that later), grounds or just “home”, these are the destinations we long to visit, where we have our finest moments and darkest hours.

As usual with FourFourTwo, we don't take these decisions lightly. Discussions took place over the course of months, involving our dozens-strong global network of writers and editors, eventually whittling down a longlist and arguing our way to a consensus.

Each candidate was judged on five criteria: history; atmosphere; capacity; architecture and environment; and that almost indefinable but viscerally obvious "wow factor". In short, how desperately would football fans want to go there?

You may not agree with every inclusion or preference, but we hope you will find plenty to enjoy and enthral in these features. It’s fair to say we’ve all learned something new and gained some potential destinations, pending agreement from partners and bank managers.

Stadiums or stadia?

Right at the start of exhaustive and exhausting discussions, this decision roused some preliminary anger, as an hors d’oeuvre for the main course of ground beefs. Despite the insistence of some that it should be “stadia”, we settled on “stadiums” because it’s good enough for the BBC (opens in new tab), The Guardian (opens in new tab), The Economist (opens in new tab), Fowler’s Modern English Usage (opens in new tab), When Saturday Comes (opens in new tab) and the Scout’s Association (opens in new tab). More importantly, it’s also what you prefer: more people search for “stadiums” than “stadia”, and as football architecture guru Simon Inglis asks in a feature written especially for us, would you say arenas or arenae?

Now go: enjoy the list. This isn't the place for arguing. Try Twitter (opens in new tab) and Facebook (opens in new tab) instead...

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Gary Parkinson is a freelance writer, editor, trainer, muso, singer, actor and coach. He spent 14 years at FourFourTwo as the Global Digital Editor and continues to regularly contribute to the magazine and website, including major features on Euro 96, Subbuteo, Robert Maxwell and the inside story of Liverpool's 1990 title win. He is also a Bolton Wanderers fan.