River’s (monumental) plans for El Monumental

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Argentina River Plate El Monumental Image: TyC Sports

With coronavirus coming like a bolt from the blue for the world and the sports venue sector equally reeling under the pandemic, Argentinian Primera División football club River Plate has announced plans to utilize the COVID-19 period to refurbish its El Monumental stadium, with the long-term goal of bringing fans closer to the action and providing them an enriching experience at the venue.

River Plate is an Argentine professional sports club based in the Núñez neighborhood of Buenos Aires in Argentina. El Monumental is a stadium in the Belgrano district of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and is the home arena of the football club River Plate. It opened on May 26th, 1938.

The Primera División is a professional football league in Argentina, organized by the Argentine Football Association. The Primera División is the country’s premier football division and is the top division of the Argentine football league system.

In what it claims is “unprecedented work” in domestic football, River said it will make use of the time it has to play games behind closed doors to change the entire playing field. The Buenos Aires giant said it will introduce a next-generation hybrid pitch system which will compete with the best on offer globally.

To facilitate the same, the playing field will be lowered until reaching the optimum level defined by a geotechnical study carried out in recent weeks. In addition, in terms of infrastructure, two significant changes will be made to the stadium. The athletics track surrounding the pitch will be done away with and a new “unique tunnel” will be built via which both the home and away team will enter the field of play.

River informed that the revamp work will be completed in early 2021, adding, “These transformations will allow in the future advancing plans to bring the stands closer to the field of play.”

Recently, Argentina’s Health Ministry authorized five clubs, including River, to resume training after almost five months of inactivity. The reconfiguration work on El Monumental will mean River will need to find alternative venues for games, once action resumes. The club has reportedly shown interest in staging closed doors Primera División matches at River Camp in Buenos Aires, the club’s Ezeiza training complex, but it will need a bigger facility for Copa Libertadores games.

Copa Libertadores de América is an annual international club football competition organized by the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) since 1960. It is the highest level of competition in South American club football.

In August 2019, River announced that the capacity of El Monumental had been expanded by nearly 4,000. The capacity of El Monumental now stands at 70,074, up from its previous limit of 66,266. This came after work carried out by River’s Infrastructure Department, which was greenlighted by the City of Buenos Aires. River has called El Monumental home since 1938.

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