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Barcelona to play away from Camp Nou during stadium overhaul

Barcelona will play at the second stadium for a year when the club begins its planned modernization of the Camp Nou stadium, president Joan Laporta said on Friday.

Laporta said he intends to begin the long-delayed overhaul of the Camp Nou in the summer of 2022. He said the work would last three to four years, but the team would need to find another home for a maximum of 12 months. .

“We are considering various possibilities, but the strongest candidate is Johan Cruyff Stadium,” Laporta told Catalan radio Rac1 on Friday.

The Johan Cruyff Stadium is where the women’s team plays and forms part of the club’s training complex on the outskirts of Barcelona.

With a seating capacity of only 6,000 spectators, Laporta said the club wanted to increase this to 50,000 if a men’s team played there.

Another option, Laporta said, would be for the team to play at the city’s Montjuc Stadium. The municipal facility hosted the opening ceremony of the 1992 Summer Olympics and was for many years the home of Barcelona’s rival Espanyol.

Camp Nou is already the largest football stadium in Europe with 99,000 seats. The club intends to increase its capacity to 110,000 by renovating its surrounding area, which also includes a pavilion for the club’s other sports, museum and store.

To finance the operation, Barcelona is in talks with Goldman Sachs to extend a 1.5 billion euro ($1.74 billion) loan to the cash-starved club for the investment bank. The financing plan needs to win a vote by club members.

Goldman Sachs was heavily involved in the financing of Tottenham’s new stadium.

Winning the election in March, Laporta inherited a club near bankruptcy. He also led the club from 2003–10.

“The (new Camp Nou) is fundamental to the club’s viability and its immediate future,” Laporta said. “Its impact for Barca is important so that we can compete with our competitors who have already done what is required.”

Real Madrid took advantage of last year’s pandemic lockdown, when no fans could attend matches in Spain, to upstage their Santiago Bernabeu.

Barcelona’s plan to restart the Camp Nou has seen several delays over the past decade.

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