Pièce de résistance look for Camp Nou

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Rising costs for Camp Nou project Image: FC Barcelona

The President of the Spanish professional football club FC Barcelona, Joan Laporta, recently stated at a presser that the Espai Barça project is going to be “remodeled”.

The ‘MundoDeportivo’ quoted Laporta as stating, “The initial idea of the project has become obsolete. So, we will restructure the entire development once again. We will not infuse everything new into the project, but will put in a lot of changes.”

Laporta informed that the changes are going to be implemented in 2022.

Futbol Club Barcelona, commonly referred to as Barcelona and colloquially known as Barça, is a Spanish professional football club based in Barcelona (Spain), which competes in LaLiga, the top flight of Spanish football.

The 99,354-capacity Camp Nou is a football stadium in Barcelona, Spain. It opened in 1957 and has been the home stadium of FC Barcelona since its completion.

The Espai Barça development plan goes well beyond modernization and reconstruction of FC Barcelona’s home venue Camp Nou. In addition to increasing the capacity of the current stadium to 105,000 from circa 99,000 and completely revamping the current structure of the Camp Nou, the Espai Barça project entails building a new Palau Blaugrana with a capacity of 15,000, an additional court with a capacity of 2,000, an ice rink, a new social area, a new commercial area, revamped club offices, La Masía (read FC Barcelona’s youth academy), and an additional 5,000 parking spots. This ambitious initiative has been in work for several years and is scheduled to be ready for the 2024-2025 seasons. In April 2014, Espai Barça was approved by the club’s members with a budget of $700 million.

Laporte stated that he wanted to implement almost total changes to the project in the Summer of 2022 once the financing go-ahead is given during the Assembly session held in Autumn.

The Barça stated that with the repurposing, the total cost of Espai Barça will now be in the range of 1,200 and 1,250 million euros, well above the 815 established last year by the former Board of Directors chaired by Josep Maria Bartomeu. It was announced back then that it would be paid for 25 years with loan from a ‘pool’ of banks led by the American multinational investment bank Goldman Sachs.

The ‘MundoDeportivo’ further stated that with the total restructuring proposed, the loan will be repaid in 30 years with a five-year grace period during the works, and a fixed interest. The modification has been proposed to cater to the demands of the City Council and the residents of Les Corts in Barcelona.

The Laporta Board wants to inject more cash to generate more income both in Camp Nou and in the Palau Blaugrana, which will be able to pack in circa 15,000 spectators.

The Japanese firm of architects Nikken Sekkei , which won the design competition, has been entrusted with the task of refurbishing Camp Nou.

Informed Laporta, “There will be a VIP Zone ring and a huge hospitality space will also come up.”

A team from the club, led by Ramón Ramírez Llorente , Director of Heritage and Espai Barça since June this year, toured recently the new 81,044-capacity Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid, Spain – home stadium of the Spanish professional football club Real Madrid, the 53,289-capacity San Mamés in Bilbao, Spain, home of the LaLiga club Athletic Bilbao, the 62,850-capacity Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in North London, home of the Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur, and the 73,000-capacity U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis (US), so as to get a better idea to make a pièce de résistance out of Camp Nou.

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