Atletico Madrid fans can request their Estadio Calderon seats as souvenirs
Atletico Madrid will allow club members to take "their" seat away when the Estadio Vicente Calderon closes this summer, while pursuing disciplinary proceedings against individuals who removed seats out as souvenirs after last week's Champions League semifinal second leg against Real Madrid.
After Atletico had won 2-1 on the Calderon's last ever European night last Wednesday, but been eliminated 4-2 on aggregate by their neighbours, a sizeable number of Rojiblanco fans ripped out their seats and brought them home as a memory to have ahead of their club's move to a new Wanda Metropolitano home next season.
However supporters must still sit somewhere for the final La Liga game at the Calderon against Athletic Bilbao this Sunday, as well as for May 27's Copa del Rey final between Barcelona and Alaves, and an Atletico legends charity game the following day. There are also a number of different events being held at the stadium this summer including a Guns N' Roses concert and a monster truck rally.
The club hierarchy have reacted by releasing a club statement laying out an orderly process in which fans can request that they get "their" seat once all these events have taken place.
"At the Vicente Calderon we have lived great evenings of football, glorious nights, enjoyed numerous Rojiblanco legends," the statement said. "And when it closes its doors this year, the club want their season-ticket holding members to be able to keep an unforgettable memorial of these historic dates. As was planned, they can request for free via our website, between next Monday May 22 and Friday June 30, to receive the seat in which they witnessed these great moments.
"The Calderon will host its final games, culminating in the 'Legends Final' on May 28, Guns N' Roses and Alejandro Sanz concerts, and various events such as the Monster Jam, and could remain open until the end of the year. Then, some days before the stadium's doors close forever, the club will organise some visits when those members who have registered in advance can visit the stadium for the last time and pick up their seat. Those seats which do not correspond to season ticket holders and other mementoes from the stadium will then be put on sale."
The statement went on to say that it hoped no fans would remove their seats following Sunday's final official Atletico game at the stadium on Sunday, and that those individuals who had damaged club property after the UCL semifinal were being identified and punished.
"The club trust fully that the fans will contribute once more to make the goodbye to the Calderon a great party. And at the same time that they respect the fixtures of the stadium in our final official game. The club make clear that we will be inflexible with the application of the rules, which take very seriously any damage caused to the facilities.
"This can bring a punishment of season-ticket removal for six months to two years, plus further possible sanctions under Spain's Sports Law. In this way the individuals who took away seats after the Champions League semifinal have already been identified and a process of identification in other cases remains open."
Atletico continue to maintain that the Wanda Metropolitano will be ready to host games from the start of the 2017-18 season. However with four months to go work is still in progress at the former athletics stadium, and there remains a possibility that the Calderon may be needed yet a few more times by Diego Simeone's side.
Once the stadium move is completed the club are expected to knock down the 50-year-old stadium, with permission having been requested from the city authorities for the construction of a number of residential towers on the site by the river Manzanares.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan