Barcelona will play the 2023-24 season outside the Camp Nou stadium

Barcelona will play away from the Camp Nou during the 2023-24 season as Europe’s biggest soccer stadium undergoes a massive refurbishment, the Spanish club announced on Thursday.

The president of the club, Joan Laporta, and the mayor of the city, Ada Colau, reported that the Catalans will play their home games at the Lluís Companys stadium, owned by the city council. The stadium, with a capacity for 60,000 spectators, was the scene of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1992 Olympic Games.

After much delay, the club said the project to modernize the Camp Nou, currently with a capacity of 99,000 spectators, will start this year after receiving the go-ahead from the city.

It will continue to be played at the Camp Nou next season. After playing outside the Camp Nou in the following campaign, the Catalans will return to their own fiefdom for the 2024-25 season, although with a capacity reduced to 50% due to the works. The club hopes to complete the work during the 2025-26 season.

Barça wants to increase the capacity of the Camp Nou to 110,000 spectators, in addition to renovating the adjacent area, which will include a pavilion for the club’s other sports disciplines, the museum and shops. The project will have a budget that would reach 1,500 million euros (1,570 million dollars).

Espanyol, Barcelona’s backyard rival, played at Lluís Companys between 1997-2009. The stadium, which has an athletics track, is perched on a small hill that offers views of the Mediterranean city.

The azulgranas also explored the possibility of playing in the smaller Johan Cruyff stadium, located on the outskirts of the city.

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Laporta said that the reform will transform the Camp Nou into “the largest, most innovative and attractive sports and entertainment space that is built within a city.”

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