Barcelona will play in another stadium for up to a year when the club begins modernizing the Camp Nou, its president Joan Laporta announced on Friday.
Laporta indicated that he wants to start the delayed reform of the Camp Nou in mid-2022. The works will take between three and four years, but the Catalan team will only play in another stadium for a maximum of 12 months.
“We are looking at different possibilities, but the one with the most force is the Estadi Johan Cruyff,” Laporta told Catalan radio Rac1 on Friday. “The Nou Camp Nou will be finished in 3 or 4 years and will have 110,000 spectators”,
The Johan Cruyff is the home of the women’s team and is part of the club’s training complex on the outskirts of Barcelona.
With a capacity for just 6,000 spectators, Laporta stressed that the club wants to raise it to 50,000 if the men’s team plays there.
Another option, Laporta said, would be to use the Montjuic municipal stadium, the scene of the opening ceremonies of the 1992 Olympics and home to the Espanyol club, Barça’s local rival, for several years.
Camp Nou, with 99,000 seats, is the largest football stadium in Europe. The club wants to raise the capacity to 110,000, while reconditioning the surrounding area, which includes a pavilion for other sports, the museum and shops.
To finance the operation, Barcelona is negotiating a loan of 1.5 billion euros (1.74 billion dollars) with investment bank Goldman Sachs. The plan is subject to club member approval.
Goldman Sachs was very involved in financing the new stadium for the English club Tottenham.
Laporta inherited a club on the brink of bankruptcy when he won the elections in March. He had already directed it from 2003 to 2010.
The new stadium “is essential for the viability of the club and the immediate present and future of Barça,” Laporta said. “The impact it will have for Barça is capital to be able to compete with our competitors, who have already done this work.”
Real Madrid took advantage of the forced closure due to the coronavirus pandemic last year, when fans could not go to watch games, to modernize its Santiago Bernabéu stadium.
Barcelona’s plan to modernize the Camp Nou has suffered several delays in the last 10 years.