Barcelona's new Camp Nou ground will make the Catalan capital the envy of cities the world over, according to the club's director Javier Faus.
Barca announced last month that the club's members would vote on whether to accept the board's plan for a 600 million euro redevelopment of the entire Camp Nou complex, with the vote being held in early April.
That ambitious plan has survived the surprise resignation of Sandro Rosell as president, with new chief Josep Maria Bartomeu having given his backing to the idea on assuming the position.
Echoing words spoken by Real Madrid president Florentino Perez a few days earlier as he announced his new plans for the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Barca’s economic vice-president told a news conference on Monday that the new 105,000-seater Camp Nou would be the best sports ground in the world.
“It is more than a remodelling of the Camp Nou, it is the most important sporting project in the world,” Faus said. “No city in Europe will have the project we are thinking of, not London, not Paris, not New York, not Madrid... It will have 105,000 spectators, the biggest in the world, a new Palau (stadium), a mini-Palau, ice-hockey stadium, commercial space, more modern swimming pools... It will be the most important sporting complex within a city centre. Other cities have great stadiums in the centre, but none has a space like this.”
Barca showed off images of how the new -- fully covered -- stadium might look, although these were just possibilities given the plan is to hold a design competition in 2016, once the vote was passed this year and funding for the project put in place in 2015. Construction would then begin in May 2017, with everything completed by February 2021.
Reporters at Monday's event were also shown a slide detailing how the 600 million euro total would break down -- with the new stadium costing 400 million euros, an arena 90 million euros, "parking & mobility" 40 million euros and hotel complex 30 million euros.
The total figure was high because of the scale of the project which had been put together, Faus said.
“The project will cost 600 million euros, the new Camp Nou will cost 400 million of that,” he said. “I am speaking about a stadium of more than 100,000 spectators. There are no stadiums like this in the world. If you go over 80,000, you arrive at a third level and costs shoot up, that is how you explain the costs. We are not speaking about a simple reform of the roof, but a substantial improvement in visibility for all fans.
"This is not a cosmetic improvement, but a structural one. The works will last four summers, there is no risk that Barca will not keep playing here [at the Camp Nou], and that has a cost. It would have been cheaper to go to Montjuic [Olympic Stadium] for three years.”
The investment fund manager -- who famously rowed in publicly with Barca's talisman Lionel Messi late last year -- said that there was no danger of a lack of money to pay transfer fees or wages while the building took place.
“We will speak about numbers later,” Faus said. “But the idea is that the sporting project would never be put at risk.”