BARCELONA: Spanish champions Barcelona will stay at Camp Nou after announcing a €600m redevelopment, which will increase its capacity to 105,000.
The Catalan club’s directors voted against moving from the 99,354-seater ground to a new location at an extraordinary meeting on Monday. The remodelling plan will be put to to Barca’s 160,000 members, who collectively own the club, ahead of an April referendum.
The plans, similar to proposals drawn up six years ago by Sir Norman Foster, feature a revenue-firing new ring of boxes, restaurants and other VIP facilities plus 3,500 new corporate seats. The Foster plan was costed at €250,000.
Matches would still be played while the work – which could be finished by 2021 – is carried out.
Barcelona have played at the Nou Camp since it was built in 1957 and the stadium has hosted two European Cup finals – in 1989 and 1999. It also hosted World Cup matches in 1982 and the Olympic football tournament in 1992.
President Sandro Rosell said: “This has been an important decision for the club – the most important in the last 50 years.
“The option of building a new stadium on a new site has been dismissed as the final cost could have saddled the club and its members with debt and tied the hands of future boards of directors.
“This was a difficult decision, both options were very attractive but we decided to go ahead and stay.”
The Spanish champions insist the restructured stadium will still be known as the Nou Camp, but added naming rights could be sold.
The club said the redevelopment, which will see a roof built to cover all spectators but not the playing surface, would generate an extra £24m of revenue per season.
Board member Javier Faus, who added that the cost of the redevelopment would be repaid within eight years, said the move was necessary for Barca to continue competing with Europe’s other leading clubs.
“We don’t want to bankrupt the club for 30 to 40 years,” he added. “We won’t take money from the club members or outside investors. The club will run the proposals with our own resources.”
The redevelopment, if approved by members, would begin in May 2017 and be completed in February 2021.