Barcelona’s socios are to vote next year on whether to expand their existing Camp Nou or build a completely new stadium nearby, with the sale of ‘temporary’ naming rights being considered to raise the 300 million euros required.
A board meeting on Monday discussed the two possibilities -- what looks a favoured option of remodelling and expanding the Camp Nou, or constructing on an entirely new home on property belonging to the University of Barcelona adjacent to the city’s Avinguda Diagonal.
The club’s vice-president for economic matters Javier Faus told RAC 1 that the vote could take place as early as February 2014.
“The referendum will be in the first or second quarter of 2014, February or July, we will not wait long,” Faus said. “First we will have to decide if the two options -- remodelling and the new stadium -- are viable. If they are the question will be very simple: a, b or c, which would be to leave things as they are.”
Although Barca are still 331 million euros in debt according to accounts presented at October’s AGM, Faus said that a further 300 million euros spent on a better ground made economic sense.
“The remodelling would cost some 300 million euros,” he said. “We will present projects which are economically viable. A new stadium would generate between 30 and 35 million euros of extra annual income. Our objective is to leave an excellent heritage for the next 100 years of Barcelona.”
Faus suggested that he would prefer not to sell naming rights to a new ground, but something similar could happen as fans were against raising season ticket prices.
“The prices of the ‘abonos’ are frozen, except for inflation, until 2016,” Faus said. “In our surveys the most important thing for socios was not to touch the abono prices. Less important was the name of the stadium. We would not support ‘naming rights’. But we could support ‘trading rights’, an intermediate solution, such as calling it the Camp Nou Microsoft.”
Lionel Messi, Neymar, Xavi Hernandez and company would not need to look for a temporary home while extension work was taking place, Faus said.
“During the three years of work, Barca would play at the Camp Nou,” he said. “The work inside the stadium could be done in summer, while exterior work could be done in winter.”
Both a remodelled Camp Nou or a completely new ground are slated to have a capacity of 105,000 spectators, while a remodelling of the existing stadium would also include improvements to the other sports facilities on the site.
The current Camp Nou was completed in 1957 and is currently Europe’s largest football ground, with a capacity of 99,354 spectators.