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Away from Camp Nou

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If a list of the most iconic football stadiums were to be made, Barcelona’s Camp Nou would rank near the top.

With a capacity of 99,354, it is a significant source of income for Barcelona. Being witness to numerous magical moments, it has a rich history. However, Barcelona will have to say goodbye to Camp Nou next season and maybe more. This is due to redevelopment work being done at the iconic venue.

Camp Nou redevelopment

When Joan Laporta won the election to become Barcelona’s President, one of his major campaign promises was the “Espai Barca” project.

Under this project, Spotify Camp Nou will be redeveloped to bring it along the lines of more modern stadiums. In addition, its capacity will be increased to 105,000.

Also, the areas surrounding the stadium will undergo large-scale renovation. This includes Estadi Johan Cruyff (Stadium of Barca’s women’s team and Barca Atletic), and Ciutat Deportiva Joan Gamper (training ground and academy).

Japanese company Nikken Sekkei beat 8 other bidders for the rights to lead this project for Barcelona. The project is expected to cost upwards of €1 billion. However, the hope and projection are that this will create a steady stream of income and maximise the overall earning potential of the club.

Where will Barcelona play their home games next season? 

While the redevelopment work starts, Barcelona have informed Spanish football’s governing body RFEF that they will play their home games next season at Estadi Olimpipc Lluis Companys in Montjuic.

They will be following Real Madrid’s example. Los Blancos played out last season’s home games at their training ground as Santiago Bernabeu was being redeveloped.

When will Barcelona return to Camp Nou?

Barcelona are expected to return to Camp Nou by November 2024. However, the stadium redevelopment is expected to take till June 26. However, Barcelona have clearance to extend their stay at their makeshift home by a year if Camp Nou is not in usable condition by next year.

Furthermore, Barcelona are expected to use only 50% of Camp Nou’s capacity even for the 2024/25 season. This is because the renovation of the stadium will still be ongoing. For comparison, Real Madrid are back playing their home games at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium but work is still underway there.

Meanwhile, Barcelona’s temporary home, Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys has an estimated capacity of 55,000-60,000, which is nowhere near Camp Nou’s capacity, although far greater than Alfredo di Stefano Stadium (6,000), Real Madrid’s training ground where they played their games last season.

Crucial few years for Barcelona

After coming through years of financial turmoil under former president Josep Maria Bartomeu, Barcelona are now starting to become competitive again. Even though they remain embroiled in some scandals, including the recent referee payments one, the club has been defiant in the face of criticism.

Following the current president, Rafael Yuste’s bombshell announcement of them working on Messi’s return to Barcelona, the club is looking at all means possible to maximise their income.

With the matchday revenue taking a hit due to the moving of stadiums, Lionel Messi’s return would be an effective shot in the arm of Barcelona’s finances.

Furthermore, it has been reported that head coach Xavi is close to agreeing on a new contract at the club. With the La Liga title this season in sight, Barcelona are looking to use this success as a launchpad for future wins. Laporta has preached the theory of the “virtuous cycle” ever since he came to power.

With the Espai Barca project taking shape, Xavi extending his contract and the potential landmark homecoming for Lionel Messi, the next few years could finally bring the club out of the darkness it has been mired in for years now.

Vatsal Gupta
A die-hard Red Devil, who has straight up not had a good time since 2012. Lives on Korean dramas and books and can often be heard talking about armchair psychological stuff.

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