Saturday, August 13

Laporta wants Barça to play at the Johan Cruyff stadium


The president announces the expansion to 50,000 people to host the first team during the Camp Nou works.

Barça’s economic situation “is much worse than we expected to find,” acknowledges Joan Laporta once all the details of the status of the club’s accounts have been known after the mandate of Josep Bartomeu. “It’s to put your hands on your head”, confesses the president, still waiting to receive the results of the internal investigation to purge “responsibilities” to the previous board for having left 481 million in losses and 1,350 million in debt. Own numbers of “bankruptcy”, as it had advanced Ferran Reverter, the CEO of Barça the day before.

While these results do not arrive, that could arrive in the next weeks, the club is preparing for the next Assembly of Committees on October 17. One of the crucial decisions is that they approve the granting of a loan of 1,500 million to start Espai Barça, “a capital project for the future of Barça”, according to Laporta, who has returned to ratify Ronald Koeman leading the team.

During the campaign he hinted that the first team would go to play in Montjuïc while the works lasted. Now, in the reformulation of the entity’s plans, the idea of ​​moving to the Johan Cruyff Stadium. Given the evidence of the limited capacity of the venue (about 6,000 spectators), Laporta explained in an interview with RAC 1 that it would be expanded to 50,000 people. Attendance at the stadium would be done in rotating shifts among the paid members (more than 80,000) so that everyone had the option of watching a match.

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The transfer of the first team would be limited to one season, which is the time provided for the visor to be installed above the stands. most of the architectural work, as in the original project, would be carried out for the duration of the competition.

Laporta explained that the mobility difficulties of thousands of people in a limited area would be greater than the purely architectural ones. The possibility that the technicians contemplate is that the expansion be vertical, raising the current visor that covers the tribune of the second Barça stadium, where Barça B and Barça women play.

Credit of 1,500 million

The first step, however, is to obtain a credit of 1,500 million that allows the reconstruction of the Camp Nou, the new Palau Blaugrana and the Barça campus. “It is fundamental for the current viability of the club and for the immediate future” since the investment “will generate a lot of income” that will allow Barça to compete at the highest level as it is doing. Laporta has explained that it would not be a regular loan, because the club would not begin to return the money to the investment firm (presumably Goldman Sachs) until the completion of the works. The refunds, in addition, would be made based on the added benefits obtained in the operation of the facilities.

“Espai Barça will have an impact on the city as were the Olympic Games. We will become a world reference for leisure and entertainment, with a futuristic, modern and sustainable area,” said Laporta, involving public institutions. “When we make the presentation of the project, the partners will be proud”, assured Laporta in the program The world to RAC 1, guaranteeing that Goldman Sachs would not have “any control or decision-making power” in the management of the club’s spaces.

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Koeman, with the job secured

Much more imminent and more worrying is the performance of the team, buffeted by the irregular results and the shadows of suspicion that loom over Ronald Koeman, encouraged, in part, by Laporta and his known willingness to replace him with another coach. After the ups and downs of last week, between Lisbon’s defeat against Benfica and Madrid’s against Atlético, the president has ensured the manager’s continuity.


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