Barcelona presidential hopeful Agusti Benedito says he will knock down Camp Nou and build a new stadium if he’s elected in January.
Plans are already in place to renovate Camp Nou as part of the Espai Barca project, which will also see the regeneration of the area around the stadium. The initiative, which has been given the green light by the local government, was initially budgeted at €600 million and will see Camp Nou’s capacity rise from 99,354 to 105,000.
However, with costs spiralling and work on the ground delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Benedito suggests it would be better to build a new home and to move to the Olympic Stadium in the city for three years, where rivals Espanyol used to play.
“If we win the elections, we will build a new stadium,” Benedito said at the presentation of his campaign for the presidency.
“We have considered two options. The first is to knock Camp Nou down and build it in the same place. That would mean playing in Montjuic [at the stadium constructed for the 1992 Olympic Games] for three years.
“The other option is to build a new stadium in Sant Joan Despi [where Barca’s training ground is]. It would be voted on in a referendum during the first year of our mandate if we’re elected on Jan. 24.”
Benedito said the money needed for the Espai Barca project has already risen above €725m and that it could even prove cheaper to build a new stadium from scratch.
“If we do it immediately, the project we’re putting forward wouldn’t cost more than €900m,” he added.
“This would be financed by the sale of the stadium’s naming rights for a period of 25 years.”
Barca have been playing at Camp Nou since 1957 and work on Europe’s largest stadium is long overdue.
“The stadium is literally falling down and has to be repaired,” the club’s acting president, Carles Tusquets, told RAC1 this month. “It has to be done. Chunks of the roof are falling off.”
Benedito, who came second in the elections to be Barcelona president in 2010 and also ran in 2015, is one of nine candidates to replace Josep Maria Bartomeu, who resigned in October.