MADRID: Barcelona’s board has taken the members’ vote in favour of rebuilding Camp Nou as a vote of confidence writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu stepped up after the resignation of Sandro Rosell and he and his fellow directors have come under heavy pressure over the Neymar transfer controversy, the club’s sponsorship strategy and – most recently – the ‘cradle snatch’ transfer ban imposed by FIFA.
Critics of the board, who wanted elections called ahead of time this summer, had opposed the rebuilding plans which would take capacity from 98,000 to 105,000 to generate more sponsorships and matchday revenues.
However 72pc of the members who voted approved the project with 25pc opposed. Less than a third of those eligible to vote, or 37,535 members, took part.
The construction work, which includes an indoor basketball arena and various other installations nearby, is expected to cost around €600m. It would start in 2017 and be completed by early 2021.
Barcelona’s city mayor, Xavier Trias, has said that the local authorities will give the club full support in its redevelopment “as long as there is nothing silly proposed.”
Saturday’s vote was only the second in the club’s 115-year history. The first was in 1950 when members backed plans to move from the old Las Corts stadium to the Nou Camp.