The chaos and controversy of Barcelona’s Camp Nou rebuild – a special report
Wednesday’s Copa del Rey semi-final second leg against Real Madrid will be the last Clasico played in the current version of Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium.
The beloved but creaking old concrete bowl, which first opened in 1957, is set to be partially demolished this summer and replaced by a new 105,000-seat stadium that will be the centrepiece of the club’s new ‘Espai Barca’ sports campus.
Club president Joan Laporta and his board are hurtling forward with the project, despite Barcelona’s huge financial issues and amid growing uncertainty about when it will be completed and just how much it’s going to cost.
The Athletic has spoken to many people who have worked on the Espai Barca project, as well as experts in the financial and construction industries with stakes in what happens with the Camp Nou’s facelift.
All spoke on condition of anonymity to protect their positions. The stories they told us leave an impression that is very different from the beaming confidence exuded by Laporta and other club figures.
This report will detail how…
- Previous club president Josep Maria Bartomeu left an €815million (£717.6m; $885.9m) project ready to go but Laporta immediately replaced it with an amended plan that will cost at least €1.5billion
- All the original architects, engineers and consultants have either left, been fired or are no longer working on the project — including Japanese architect firm Nikken Sekkei
- Some new executives and partners who were hired lack experience of working on such a complex project — including Turkish builders Limak
- Permits from the local council are still not sorted — with the current design described as a “hotch-potch” drawn from four different architectural companies, who all worked off different briefs
- There are now significant concerns about whether the project can be delivered on time and within budget.
Bartomeu is not fondly remembered by many Barcelona socios (as club members are known), but in autumn 2020 his board left behind a project that was on track and “ahead of the Bernabeu”, according to a senior source who worked on Espai Barca.
Real Madrid, Barcelona’s arch-rivals, have since moved far in front with their own extensive stadium renovation work, however — their newly-remodelled Estadio Santiago Bernabeu is slated to be completed before the end of 2023.
At Barcelona, meanwhile, a carousel of different partner companies plus executives and consultants coming and going has led to delays and further costs for what is already the most expensive and complicated stadium rebuild in European football history.
Each year spent playing across the city at their temporary stadium in Montjuic is expected to cost the already heavily indebted Catalan club more than €90million, and given all the turmoil within the Espai Barca plan, nobody can say for certain when Barcelona will return to play at their upgraded Camp Nou.
It is a situation that will concern all socios and regular Barcelona fans, and there is potential for more drama to come…
Anyone who’s visited Camp Nou over the past decade will know the stadium is overdue for an upgrade.
Its archaic design makes for an outdated fan experience, and from the club’s perspective, there are further reasons for change. With just five per cent of its seats classified as ‘VIP’, Barcelona’s home ground generates much less matchday revenue than those of other leading clubs around Europe.
Club members first voted in favour of the Espai Barca campus project in a referendum held in April 2014, when Bartomeu was president. Two years later, a design by Nikken Sekkei was selected, including a remodelled 105,000-seater stadium, a new 10,000-seat indoor sports arena to replace the Palau Blaugrana, a renovated museum, shop, restaurants and offices.
That was all originally due to be completed by 2021, but the club’s financial issues and the COVID-19 pandemic caused delays. Still, the project, overseen by German-American architect William T Mannarelli, had financing in place and preparations for the construction phase had begun.
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Then, in March of that year, Laporta and his new board took over. It soon became clear they had no intention of working with the plan or team they inherited.
Back during his first term as president, between 2003 and 2010, Laporta had hired English architect Norman Foster to redesign the Camp Nou, but the project never got off the ground. Now he wanted to put his own imprint on the Espai Barca idea.
The incoming directors felt the improved stadium could generate even more revenue than in the existing plan, so they worked on a different design, including quite significant structural changes. Most importantly, they wanted a double ring of VIP boxes between the second and third tiers of seats, instead of the one row at the top of the first tier that Bartomeu and Mannarelli had planned.
This would require demolishing more of the old stadium and building an entire new upper level on top of what remained.
The Camp Nou scoreboard is lifted out in the early stages of demolition (Photo: Sara Gordon/FC Barcelona)
The new board immediately began to persuade the club’s fans that their plan was better than the previous one. Socios were told that Barcelona had already invested €145million in the project but just five per cent of it had been completed, and that it had been under-costed and was already way over schedule. The new board also said the old design had become “outdated” and needed “redefining”.
In October 2021, members were asked to approve plans to borrow “up to €1.5billion”, including €900million for the future Camp Nou. Those voting were assured the budget for first-team transfers or new contracts for key players such as Pedri or Ansu Fati would not be affected, and permits would be attained for work to start in earnest the following summer. Socios were told the project was expected to finish “towards the end of 2025”.
When the club’s 137,000-plus socios were consulted online, 48,623 votes were cast, with 87.8 per cent saying yes to borrowing the money and building the new stadium.
Laporta now had overwhelming support for his revised Espai Barca plan. But behind the scenes, more problems were brewing.
When the new board settled in during the spring of 2021, there was a deep suspicion of anybody with ties to Bartomeu’s regime. The first few months under Laporta saw an exodus of executives from all areas of the club, including many who had been involved in planning the new stadium, while contracts with external consultants were also cancelled.
Incoming director Jordi Llaurado was now overseeing Espai Barca, and new chief executive Ferran Reverter also took a big hands-on role with the most expensive project in the club’s history.
Bartomeu’s project chief Mannarelli left in the May, after nine years as the club’s director of real estate. The following month, the day-to-day management of Espai Barca became the responsibility of Ramon Ramirez.
Ramirez joined from Spanish engineers IDOM, who built Athletic Bilbao’s award-winning new San Mames stadium in the previous decade, and had worked on the Camp Nou project for Bartomeu’s board. Through the 2021-22 season, he worked with his former colleagues to incorporate the changes required by Laporta into the existing plans.
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Reverter’s shock exit in February of last year, after just seven months as CEO, was a huge setback. The official reason for his departure was that he wanted to spend more time with his family, but multiple sources have told The Athletic about many fundamental disputes behind the scenes — including a disagreement with Laporta over the sale of naming rights to the new stadium to music streaming giant Spotify.
Publically, charismatic club chief Laporta continued to project the message that the rebuild was all going along as planned. “Everything is still on course,” he said shortly after Reverter’s departure. “In April, we expect to have the licences. The calendar says tenders (for construction partners) in July, choosing the winning bid in September.”
Laporta, left, with Eduardo Fernandez de Blas, second vice-president of Real Madrid, before El Clasico last month (Photo: Alex Caparros via Getty Images)
After a very lengthy consultation process, the Bartomeu board had secured all the required permits to begin ‘their’ Camp Nou rebuild. However, the substantial changes introduced under Laporta meant these were no longer valid.
Twelve months ago, the club were granted a permit to start preliminary work, but further approval was still required for the main phases of the project. The city authorities also had their own ideas about how to improve Laporta’s plan in areas including sustainability, technology and accessibility.
So a whole new consultation process began.
The Laporta plan for the stadium was much more complex technically than its predecessor. It meant demolishing the entire third tier of the old Camp Nou, and effectively putting an all-new 40,000-seater stadium on top of what then remained of a structure put in place in the 1960s. This was very challenging — even for professionals with lots of experience in stadium construction. The original design would have left the third tier in place.
Some industry experts feel the amended design with more all-new elements is easier to control, and not that different to what Real Madrid have done to the Bernabeu, or Liverpool with Anfield. Others, who prefer Bartomeu’s plan, argue the project was made much more technically difficult, and expensive, and all for little final benefit.
It was also last April that Barcelona confirmed that the first team would have to play their 2023-24 home games elsewhere in the city, at Montjuic. Bartomeu’s board had expected it to be possible to keep playing at the Camp Nou, even during construction. But that would be impossible under the new plan.
Laporta also admitted the previously signalled completion date had been too ambitious. Work would now take three to six months longer, and be completed during the 2025-26 season. Fans were told this was because Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had affected the cost and availability of materials.
The latest design for a redeveloped Camp Nou (Photo: FC Barcelona)
Another reason for the delays was the regular changes behind the scenes among those managing different parts of the project. Reverter was not the only important figure to depart. New heads of security, technology and merchandising hired by Laporta’s board all left within 12 months after failing to settle.
There was a further major setback last June, when it was announced chief engineer Ramirez was leaving. This came after a reorganisation of Barcelona’s internal structures which meant he had to report to two Laporta allies — Alex Barbany, the club’s chief revenue officer, and Joan Sentelles, the director of operations and purchasing.
The big changes did not stop there.
The consultancy contract with IDOM, Ramirez’s former company, was not renewed in August. This break occurred after the club hired Tottenham Hotspur Stadium architect Populous to carry out an external review of the project’s progress. An IDOM spokesperson made clear that there had not been any falling-out, saying the firm was very happy and proud to have completed its part of the project, and that it was Barcelona’s prerogative how they continued. Populous declined to comment.
With Ramirez and his former IDOM colleagues all now gone, Barca had to find new project managers. They hired a partnership of two Catalan firms: Torrella Ingenieria-Arquitectura and JG Ingenieros. The former had no experience in sports — it previously almost exclusively designed industrial buildings — and the latter had a role in the works at Atletico Madrid’s Estadio Metropolitano, but nothing on the scale of what Barcelona were planning.
These wholesale changes caused bafflement in the construction industry. Multiple sources previously involved in the project told The Athletic that all the changes to the plans, and the coming and going of partners, made it a huge challenge for the new project managers.
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“The plan is the combined work of many different companies working to slightly revised briefs, each one from a slightly different remit,” says a source at a company which consulted on the project. “It is a little bit of a mess.”
“I used to sleep at night knowing that at least IDOM was there, they were competent,” says another source who worked on Espai Barca but was let go by the current board, and who described the hiring of a firm with limited experience like Torrella Ingenieria-Arquitectura to now manage the project as “crazy”.
On September 6, architectural institute El Col Legi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya (COAC) sent a letter — which The Athletic has seen — to Laporta, outlining its concerns.
“The COAC laments that the architects who won the competition to design the new Camp Nou will not continue to lead the project and direct the work,” wrote Guim Costa i Calsamiglia, the dean of the college.
The original Espai Barca project being unveiled by Barcelona’s then-president Bartomeu, third right, and players including Lionel Messi in 2016 (Photo: Lluis Gene/AFP via Getty Images)
This was all happening just as preparation work, overseen by Torrella Ingenieria-Arquitectura, took place.
That same month saw the symbolic step of removing the giant video scoreboard from the top of the stand behind the Camp Nou’s south goal. More demolition of the third tier took place during La Liga’s World Cup hiatus in November and December.
Laporta’s board were going ahead with the project. The next problem was securing the money to pay for it.
When Laporta and his new board took office in early 2021, they inherited a deal with Goldman Sachs to finance the Espai Barca project. This arrangement, arranged under Bartomeu, provided €815million of funding, at interest rates of three to four per cent.
It included a bridging loan of €90million to get works started, with the remainder to follow when the larger construction efforts began. Some of that €90m was used by Bartomeu’s board to pay other liabilities, the club’s accounts later showed.
Laporta’s new board were scathing about this when they found out, and turned to Goldman Sachs for help with the situation they had inherited. In August 2021, the US investment bank loaned the club €595million to pay off short-term liabilities coming due.
That December, socios gave Laporta’s board the green light to borrow €1.5billion more for the Espai Barca project. That was always going to take some time to organise, and as work continued on the project, more short-term money was required. In early April last year, Goldman Sachs agreed to another bridging loan of €90million to keep things moving along.
That summer, even as Laporta and his board were activating financial levers to fill holes in their annual accounts while funding new signings including that of Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, the Espai Barca financing was completely separate. None of the money raised from selling future TV rights or shares in Barca Studios was earmarked for the stadium rebuild. There was still no significant progress towards securing the €1.5bn loan.
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To repay that debt, it was seen as crucial that the new stadium generated a huge amount of extra revenue via its VIP boxes and visits by wealthy tourists. US firm Legends International had consulted with Bartomeu’s board and in 2020 predicted the original Espai Barca design would generate €150million extra each year — just €50m of which would be needed to make their repayments.
In December, Barca announced a new formal agreement with Legends International to promote the design and marketing of executive boxes at the new stadium. A club statement said it expected the VIP boxes to earn “more than €120m per year once the new stadium is finished and at full capacity”.
So Laporta’s new ‘improved’ stadium was now expected to generate €30million less each year than Bartomeu’s original version. The Athletic asked Legends and the club to explain this shortfall. Neither commented.
These changes to the plan made it more difficult for Goldman Sachs to organise the financing, as the projected future revenue was now lower. But it was also difficult for the bank to just back out and leave, with Barca already owing it around €800million.
“On one level, Goldman Sachs would be extremely excited that Barca need more and more money, as more money means more control for them,” said a source with intimate knowledge of the situation. “But at the same time, they must be terrified — this is one of the most complicated stadium projects ever and they have not hired people who have actually done this before.”
The Camp Nou in February, with some reconstruction work taking place (Photo by David Ramos via Getty Images)
In early February, Laporta revealed Goldman Sachs and fellow US bankers JP Morgan were now organising the funding for the stadium through a huge bond issue. “We are expanding our market of potential investors, as well as the possibility of obtaining financing at a better price,” he said. With typical confidence, he also stated that: “Before March 31, we will have the funding for Espai Barca.”
Then came the bombshell that Barcelona had been paying millions of euros to Spain’s then-referees chief Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, during both Bartomeu’s time as president from 2014-20 and under predecessor Sandro Rosell. Barcelona were also eliminated from the Europa League’s first knockout round by Manchester United.
These blows to the board’s reputation, and the team’s competitive level, were not helpful to finance executives trying to persuade people to invest in Barcelona’s future. UEFA, European football’s governing body, potentially punishing them with a ban from its competitions due to the Negreira case would hit their revenues so significantly they would struggle to meet the proposed bond repayments.
On March 7, Laporta told an event that “we have the financing, we are just trying to improve the terms”. However, market conditions were not moving in Barcelona’s favour. Inflation and rising interest rates led to the disappearance of Silicon Valley Bank in the US, and the collapse of Switzerland-based investment bank Credit Suisse. So it was not a great time to be trying to find buyers for the three €500million tranches of bonds the club were offering.
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An industry source told The Athletic last week that those bonds were now “junk”. The market situation meant that the interest rate was now eight to 10 per cent.
The culmination of factors well outside the club’s control, from the ongoing war in Ukraine to turmoil in the global banking system, meant that the repayments on a €1.5billion loan were now going to be hundreds of millions more than when socios agreed to the idea of borrowing that amount 18 months previously.
The day before Laporta’s self-imposed March 31 deadline for sealing the financing, a board meeting at the Camp Nou discussed the club’s options. Still, there was no final confirmation of an arrangement. Instead, the club released a one-line statement: “FC Barcelona is in the process of closing the financing of Espai Barca and informs that the negotiations will be closed next week.”
Meanwhile, it was confirmed that Barcelona were “renewing” two loans of €50million with Spanish banks just to cover their day-to-day bills.
The following days brought more institutional turmoil, with UEFA president Alexander Ceferin suggesting punishment could be coming over the Negreira affair, and Barcelona calling on La Liga president Javier Tebas to resign due to his alleged attempts to “dynamite” the club.
All this was happening while Laporta’s board were still trying to seal the biggest stadium loan in European football history.
Less than three months before the main demolition phase is meant to begin, Barcelona do not yet have the main block of money organised to pay for the work.
They do have a main construction partner selected, although that process raises lots more questions about how Laporta’s board were managing the whole project.
The decision to choose Turkish company Limak as the main contractor for the Camp Nou rebuild was taken by Barcelona’s board on January 9 this year. It was met with widespread shock and disappointment in the Spanish and Catalan construction industries.
There had been lots of interest in such a big and prestigious project from local firms, and two consortiums put in bids during the tender process — FCC-Comsa and Ferrovial-Acciona. These companies had also submitted bids when Bartomeu was president, and had spent millions over the years preparing proposals.
This was the stage of demolition at Camp Nou by December, with works progressing during La Liga’s World Cup break (Photo: Sara Gordon/FC Barcelona)
Since its foundation in 1976, Limak has built hotels, motorways, bridges and the new Istanbul Airport, which was completed in 2018. Its only previous sports project was the €100million, 25,000-seater Mersin Arena, built for the 2013 Mediterranean Games and afterwards home to Mersin Idman Yurdu, who spent most of their history in Turkey’s lower divisions. Playing in a three-star UEFA stadium — the same rating as Anfield, and Paris Saint-Germain’s Parc des Princes — in front of crowds averaging 6,000, the club suffered financial ruin and went out of business completely in 2019.
Two days after the Limak announcement, Espai Barca lost yet another leading figure.
It emerged that Llaurado, the director in charge of the project, had abstained in the vote on the deal with Limak. He resigned from the board and has taken up a mostly ceremonial role at the club’s foundation.
Barcelona vice-president Elena Fort now became the visible face of the project. The main reason to choose Limak, she said, was that the Turkish company would complete the project faster and cheaper than the Spanish consortia who had also submitted bids.
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Limak has agreed to complete the new stadium by summer 2026 at a basic cost of €900million — the figure the socios heard when they were asked to vote in late 2021. Other parts of the full €1.5billion Espai Barca project, such as the Palau Blaugrana indoor arena, were to be parked for now.
It is understandable that Barcelona wanted their stadium rebuilt and reopened as quickly as possible, and for the lowest price. However, there were many doubts among others involved in the bid process over whether Limak is actually capable of delivering the project as it has promised.
Big local companies such as FCC-Comsa and Ferrovial-Acciona thought building the new stadium would take significantly more money, and more time. This is because the project is now so technically difficult, and also due to high inflation, especially in the costs of raw materials. Catalan media reports said the next lowest bid came in at €250million more than Limak’s.
A report in Spanish newspaper El Confidencial alleged Barcelona changed the criteria for the tender process, eliminating some pre-qualification requirements, before inviting Limak to bid. The Athletic has been told, by sources who worked on the Bartomeu project, that, under the criteria his board wanted, the Turkish company would not have qualified to even make a bid.
Barcelona have denied making specific changes with Limak in mind, but did say criteria had been changed to “make the process more competitive”, again arguing that it was in the club’s interest to find a partner willing to do the work quicker and for less money. The club said Limak passed a ‘pre-qualification phase’ that required it to show technical and financial credentials.
Meanwhile, the musical chairs of directors, executives and partners continued.
In early February, Barcelona revealed Nikken Sekkei was now officially the ‘Design Guardian’ of the new stadium. This was a creative way of announcing the Japanese firm’s move into a back-seat role, with its architects — who had spent eight years on the project — now leaving. Nikken Sekkei declined to comment when asked about this by The Athletic.
A view of the interior of the proposed redeveloped Camp Nou (Photo: FC Barcelona)
Instead, last month, Limak hired London-based WOO Architects to work on updating the design of the stadium.
WOO’s founders were heavily involved in the London 2012 Olympics, and the company has since worked on projects for clients including Everton FC and Warwickshire County Cricket Club. Once again, industry sources who spoke with The Athletic were surprised that a relatively small firm was now the design lead on such a prestigious project.
At the same time, Barcelona announced that Australia-headquartered engineers Robert Bird Group and UK-based crowd dynamics consultancy Movement Strategies were coming on board.
Everyone in the industry knows about Barcelona’s difficult financial position and the idiosyncrasies of how Espai Barca has evolved, but this carousel of designers, engineers and managers has made for extra costs and further time lost.
“They have burned through a lot of architects,” said a source at a company previously but no longer involved in Espai Barca. “The current (design) plan is a hotch-potch of four different people’s work.”
All this was happening with the knowledge that demolition work on the stadium was just months away, but without full financing in place for the rebuild, and without the full permits having yet been secured. Barcelona’s city council told The Athletic that the club still need to perform further technical work before submitting the modified final plan and supporting documentation for approval.
That should in theory be possible to complete before the summer, the city authorities said. However, it remains a challenge, especially considering that so many of the partners involved have only recently joined the project.
After Wednesday’s Clasico, head coach Xavi’s team have six more La Liga games at Camp Nou before the end of this season. Nobody can say when they will be back there after those.
Barcelona will play all their 2023-24 home games at the 55,000-capacity Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys, the venue at the heart of the 1992 Olympic Games, across the city in the Montjuic district. They are also set to play at least some matches at Montjuic in 2024-25, but it is in their interests to get back to the Camp Nou as soon as possible.
Laporta has claimed there are “guarantees” from Limak that the team will be able to return in time to celebrate the club’s 125th anniversary in November 2024. That is a highly ambitious target.
Some of those consulted during The Athletic’s investigation argue that it makes practical sense to at least pause the whole Espai Barca project now. One socio, who happens to be a financier, said he would wait two years, as funding such a huge construction project should be easier once the club’s annual accounts are in a better state.
At least some within the higher echelons at the club had considered such a ‘pause’, and some directors at last Thursday’s marathon board meeting were in favour of waiting for a better moment. But Laporta has won the internal argument to push on as quickly as possible.
Pausing for reflection and taking precautions would go against everything Laporta has done since regaining the presidency. His vision was for the Bartomeu plan to be replaced, and the socios were promised the current board would provide a new, better stadium to generate more money and help fix the club’s financial problems.
However, there are now huge reputational and financial risks involved in pressing on with the current schedule for the project, including for Goldman Sachs and Limak.
But Laporta and his allies have shown no sign of looking back.
For them, it is crucial the Espai Barca project goes ahead as planned, even if further twists and turns seem inevitable.
(Top photo: Sara Gordon/FC Barcelona. Visual design by Samuel Richardson)
Barcelona reveal plans for Camp Nou redevelopment to rival Real Madrid’s Bernabeu
Oct 20, 2021
It’s perhaps fitting that in the week building up to El Clasico, Barcelona have unveiled their plans to renovate their famous old Camp Nou stadium in a bid to keep pace with Europe’s top clubs, such as LaLiga rivals Real Madrid.
Los Blancos are in the process of refurbishing the Santiago Bernabeu, which reopened to fans last month for the 5-2 win over Celta Vigo, 559 days after it had last hosted a match.
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Construction work continues at Real’s iconic home, with the long-term goal to have an 80,000-capacity multi-purpose super-arena fit for the 21st century complete with various shops, food outlets and an extended club museum.
Not wishing to be left behind, Barca have now published plans for their revised project to completely overhaul their crumbling concrete bowl. The extent to which the Camp Nou has decayed was revealed recently in a report which detailed how pigeon nests covered in excrement created bad smells and led to swarms of flies and mites gathering inside the ground, while there was also evidence of bird droppings falling into areas where food was prepared for supporters.
Barcelona plan to invest €1.5 billion (£1.6bn) to transform the ground into a 105,000-seater stadium that is “at the avant garde of technology.” The project is certainly ambitious, not least because the club intends to push ahead with it despite being around €1.5bn in debt.
The Catalans even make direct reference to the Bernabeu as part of their launch video along with several other new and remodelled stadia such as Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena, Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium and Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano.
The Camp Nou first opened in 1957, and it remains Europe’s largest stadium with a capacity of 99,354. But, at the age of 64, it is beginning to look a little tired.
The grand plans to renovate the ground — named “Espai Barca” (“Barca Space”) — were first approved by Barca members back in 2014 but due to myriad issues the club have only been able to carry out a tiny fraction of the proposed work.
However, the project has now been revisited and revised, with the Catalans set to turn their creaking 64-year-old stadium into a club campus that they hope will be an “18-acre jewel” in the heart of the city. Club president Joan Laporta will put the revised financing model for the project to a general assembly of around 700 members for approval. If that happens, all of the club’s members will vote in a referendum to gives the redevelopment the green light.
The new Camp Nou will boast a retractable roof covered in 30,000 square metres of solar panels. This energy will be used to power the new 360-degree screen that will run around the entire interior of the stadium, as well as various security systems. In another effort to improve the ground’s sustainability, rain water will also be collected and recycled.
Outside, the concourse will feature a raft of new office complexes and green spaces, as well as an on-site hotel, event spaces, an ice rink and the “Palau Blaugrana” — a smaller pavilion arena which is primarily the home of the basketball team.
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La Masia, the club’s venerated youth academy that produced greats such as Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta, will also be preserved as part of the campus.
Barca are hoping that their enormous new complex will integrate into the surrounding neighbourhood of Les Corts, with no barriers between the two thus allowing fans to move freely through the whole area.
Parks and sporting facilities will be built in open spaces around the stadium to allow visitors to enjoy entertainment and activities.
A “welcome hub” will also be built inside the entrance foyer of the Main Stand which will house a gigantic new Barca club store and a vast museum stocked full of all the trophies and memorabilia collected by the club over the years.
The new Camp Nou certainly looks fantastic in virtual form — a modern, sleek stadium befitting a club who are intent on being the very best in the world.
Barca are hoping that, pending approval of the financing deal, renovation work can begin as early as summer 2022 and be completed by the end of 2025 should everything go to plan. Eager fans will simply have to make do with the images until then.
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90,000 Barça will make the Camp Nou the third largest arena in the world (after India and North Korea). For the sake of this, the club will go to another stadium for the season – Multi-brand – Blogs
The 6,000th Johan Cruyff wants to expand to 40-50 thousand. ” Camp Nou and Palau Blaugrana.
🔵🔴 ESPAI BARÇA
Where dreams are bigger pic. twitter.com/0uMq9VS8fq
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 20, 2018
President Joan Laporta told the Catalan radio station RAC1 that the project is fundamental to the viability of the club. According to him, the reconstruction plan depends on a loan of 1.5 billion euros, which is planned to be repaid with future income from the new complex. One source of funds could be Goldman Sachs, which has already helped the club this year. But Laporta says talks are underway with other investors as well.
If all goes well with funding, construction work will take three to four years. For one of these seasons, Barcelona will have to leave the Camp Nou. The Johan Cruyff Stadium, where the reserve and women’s teams play, is being considered as a potential temporary replacement. This is a 6-thousander based on the club – it was opened only in 2019 to replace the Mini Estadi.
In the midst of the pandemic season, Johan Cruyff was already considered as a possible option for the basis of Barça, but then the club captains (Lionel Messi, Sergi Roberto, Sergi Busquets, Gerard Pique) decided to finish playing at the Camp Nou.
However, during the reconstruction, the club cannot afford to be left without spectators again. Laporta assures that for the matches of the main Barça, the stadium from 6 thousand can be increased immediately to 40-50 thousand. “They say it’s possible. The most difficult will be the impact on mobility and parking, but from an architectural point of view it is possible,” explained Laporta.
Another option is the Olympic Stadium, which seats about 56,000. This is the main arena of the 1992 Olympics, and since 19From 97 to 2009, Espanyol played here.
How will the Camp Nou change?
The main thing is that the capacity will increase from 99 thousand to 110 thousand. This will make the Camp Nou the third largest stadium in the world, behind India’s Narendra Modi (132,000) and North Korea’s Now Nado May Day (114,000).
Camp Nou was originally planned to grow to 105,000, but a lot has changed along the way. “The project is outdated and we have made changes. I had goosebumps when he was introduced,” says Laporta. – The third tier will be completely redone. Perhaps the first one. The stadium will have space for 110 thousand spectators, more boxes, VIP areas and places for receiving guests. Espay Barça could have the same impact on the city as the Olympic Games did. We will become a landmark in the world of leisure with a futuristic, modern and sustainable stadium.”
Barcelona’s refurbishment has been planned for a long time: since 2007, rebuilding plans have been drawn up regularly, but construction has been delayed for various reasons. Camp Nou was last rebuilt in 1998 (built in the 1960s). Outside, it looks like a concrete structure, and inside it is no longer very comfortable. The space around the stadium also needed to be rebuilt for a long time. On the days of important matches around the arena and in the store is crowded, and the journey to the nearest metro station takes 6-10 minutes. The project involves improvements in logistics.
To some extent, the Barcelona project was a response to the actions of Real Madrid, which moved much further with the reconstruction of the Santiago Bernabeu. All last season, Madrid played at the reserve stadium, which is only in the plans of Barça. The Bernabéu will be completely renovated by 2023, but Real have already been able to return home.
Espai Barça will be crucial for us to compete with our competitors who have already done what needs to be done,” Laporta admits.
Real Madrid also used a loan for their reconstruction. Back in April 2019, the club agreed on a loan with JP Morgan and Bank of America. The amount is 575 million euros, the fixed rate is 2.5%, the annual fee is 29.5 million. Payments will begin in July 2023, and will end as early as 2049. The initial cost was 796.5 million euros, but in June 2020, Real Madrid requested a new loan, after which the amount, including interest, will exceed 900 million euros.
The club calculates that the Bernabéu will generate an additional €150m per year (on top of the previous €170m).
Barcelona have the same motivation.
Photo: globallookpress.com/Pressinphoto/Pro Shots via ZUMA Press; FC Barcelona
Barça launches the reconstruction of the Camp Nou. The club will spend the 2023/24 season at the Olympic Stadium – Espanyol used to play there – Have you seen this? – Blogs
Have you seen this?
Now it is a concert arena.
Barcelona announced the reconstruction of the Camp Nou and the surrounding area – it has been talked about for a long time, and the club finally agreed on everything. The reconstruction will start in June 2022, but Barça will still be playing at their arena next season. But in a year the season will have to be spent outside the Camp Nou.
How will the Camp Nou change?
The main thing is that the capacity will increase from 99 thousand to 110 thousand. This will make the Camp Nou the third largest stadium in the world, behind India’s Narendra Modi (132,000) and North Korea’s Now Nado May Day (114,000).
Camp Nou was originally planned to grow to 105,000, but a lot has changed along the way. “The project is outdated and we have made changes. I had goosebumps when he was introduced,” Laporta said in the fall of 2021. – The third tier will be completely redone. Perhaps the first one. The stadium will have space for 110 thousand spectators, more boxes, VIP areas and places for receiving guests. Espay Barça could have the same impact on the city as the Olympic Games did. We will become a landmark in the world of leisure with a futuristic, modern and sustainable stadium.”
Reconstruction has been planned for a long time: since 2007, plans for rebuilding have been regularly drawn up, but construction has been delayed for various reasons. Camp Nou was last rebuilt in 1998 (built in the 1960s). Outside, it looks like a concrete structure, and inside it is no longer very comfortable. The space around the stadium also needed to be rebuilt for a long time. On the days of important matches around the arena and in the store is crowded, and the journey to the nearest metro station takes 6-10 minutes. The project involves improvements in logistics.
What are the deadlines?
Work will begin in the summer of 2022, but, as Barca noted, this will have virtually no effect on the arena’s capacity in the 2022/23 season – the active phase will begin only a year later.
Demolition of the third tier will begin in the summer of 2023. “Had we scheduled the demolition earlier, it would have resulted in the 2022/23 season playing at 50% capacity,” the club said in a statement.
But in the 2023/24 season, Barca will move to the Olympic Stadium in Montjuïc. In the summer of 2024, he will return to the Camp Nou, but still have to play at 50% of the capacity, because the active phase of work will still continue – and will only end during the 2025/26 season.
Wow, Barça in another stadium! And what is this stadium?
The Montjuïc Stadium for 55,000 people was built in the capital of Catalonia in 1927. They built it for the Expo-1929 exhibition – in the same year they even held the first rugby match of the Spanish national team. In 1936, it was renamed the Olympic Stadium – when Barcelona claimed to host the Summer Olympics (it was, however, given to Nazi Germany). The arena nevertheless accepted the Olympics – but only in 1992. And there was no football there at all – only opening / closing and athletics competitions.
In 2001, the arena was renamed in honor of Luis Companys, the President of Catalonia during the civil war, who was executed by the Francoists in 1940 in Montjuic Castle next door. The arena is located on the Montjuic hill, which rises above the port of Barcelona, in fact – in a huge park, which is not very convenient to get to: the nearest bus stop is nearby, but it takes 15-20 minutes to walk from the metro and even the funicular.