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Jan 20, 2014

Barca to vote on Camp Nou expansion

FC Barcelona are to have a new stadium with a capacity of 105,000 and a retractable roof, the club announced on Tuesday.

Barcelona are to ask their socios to vote on April 5 or 6 on whether to reform and expand its existing Camp Nou ground, while naming rights could be sold to finance the 600 million euro project being planned.

In December, Barca vice-president for economic matters Javier Faus said club members would decide whether to remodel the Camp Nou, construct on an entirely new home or property belonging to the University of Barcelona.

The University immediately threw that idea into doubt by saying the proposed site was not for sale -- and the club are now set to look for permission from members to start work on an upgraded Camp Nou which would seat 105,000 spectators, cost 600 million euros and be completed by 2021.

Club president Sandro Rosell told a news conference on Monday evening that the board had unanimously decided to just offer the one option to its socios in the vote -- likely to be held on April 5 or 6, when Barcelona will host Real Betis in La Liga.

“Today the Barcelona board has unanimously decided to put the project of building a new stadium on top of the current Camp Nou structure to the club’s socios,” Rosell said. “The board has decided to discard the option of building a new stadium on the site which had been proposed on the ‘Diagonal’. It has been a difficult decision.

"The two projects were very attractive. But our commitment was to present in a referendum two viable projects from technical, urbanist and economic points of view. After a deep analysis, advised by the best international experts, the board has decided that the best option is to continue at Les Corts.”

The club released further details of what a remodelled Camp Nou will look like -- with extended executive facilities and other sports facilities on the site also being improved.

Faus said the club  -- 331 million euros in debt according to its own accounts -- was considering selling naming rights to finance the construction, while the new stadium would include an "Espai Barca" hotel/entertainment complex which could generate extra revenues.

“This 600 million breaks down in four parts,” Faus said. “We have rejected the idea of renaming the stadium, but not that it might have a brand as a ‘surname’. No agreement has yet been made with any company. This 'title right' could give us some 150 million euros over a period of between 20 and 25 years with the Camp Nou having a commercial surname.

"The ‘espai Barca’ would generate 50 million euros, with commercial and hotel space for 90-year concessions. That would leave 400 million euros to cover. 200 would come from credit which would be paid at the start of the works, and another 200 which would come from internal financing, that is to say the savings which are currently generating annually.”

Rosell also spoke on the ongoing controversy over Neymar’s transfer to the Catalan club from Santos last summer, with reports in El Mundo on Monday claiming the full cost of the deal was as much as 95 million euros, not the 57 million euros Barca maintain they paid.

“Neymar has cost 57.1 million euros, full stop,” the blaugrana chief said. “I will say it again for the umpteenth time. And full stop. I ask the judge to call me testify and I will tell him everything has been impeccable. Barca is a thousand per cent transparent in everything.”

Despite these claims regarding transparency Rosell, and Faus, then refused to answer any further questions about the transfer.

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