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FC Barcelona’s Board of Directors will make a decision on the future of the Camp Nou in the first fortnight of January, according to Board spokesman Toni Freixa. The Club’s economic vice-president Javier Faus explained in an interview with Jordi Basté on ‘El món a RAC1’ that the objective of the Board presided by Sandro Rosell is to take on the challenge of “securing patrimonial excellence for the Club for the next 100 years.” “We’ve taken a step forward athletically and in management, but the Board’s desire is to take a step forward patrimonially,” he continued.
The construction of a practically new stadium in Les Corts or the construction of a completely new stadium in Diagonal would help address the visibility problems that some of the fans endure during matches at the Camp Nou. “We have 20,000 members that can’t watch the games properly, they can’t see the whole pitch, they can only see parts of the field because of the structure of the stands, and we need to find a solution to this problem.”
The funds need to come out of our own resources and we won’t ask the members to shoulder the burden
The vice-president then went on to say that the Club can and will generate sufficient funds to take on the cost of the new construction projects: “the funds need to come out of our own resources and we won’t ask the members to shoulder (the burden), we’re committed to the promise that we wouldn’t increase the price of season tickets until the end of our tenure. In 2016 we will have reduced the debt to 200 million euros, which is an overall reduction of 300 million euros. We’ve shown that we can generate approximately 100 million euros each year and we can reduce the debt by 50 million each year.”
In addition, Faus added that the new stadium will generate additional resources, between 30 to 35 million more euros per year, given that it will have approximately 5,000 more seats and the VIP section will be significantly expanded. “We currently are the European team with the least amount of VIP seats, around 2%, while the average in other stadiums is around 7% to 8%.”
When asked about the possibility of selling the naming rights of the stadium to obtain additional economic resources, Faus said, “we could generate around 250 million euros in the long term, but we don’t support the idea. The majority of the Board does not want to completely sell the naming rights of the stadium.” The vice-president, however, confirm that the Board are considering adding an additional name to the stadium, but always keeping the name Camp Nou. “Adding a ‘last name’ is the lesser to two evils. We could generate around 100 million euros, but these contracts have a duration of 25 years.”
Faus also revealed that in a recent poll of Barça members, that members consider the price of season tickets to be a more important issue than the naming rights of the Camp Nou.
He went on to explain that Club members will be duly informed on any viable building project ahead of any referendum, and that there’s a very high probability that an option “to not do anything” will be included in the vote “because these are projects that come with a high economic cost and Club members have the right to decide.”
Faus recognised that the building project at Diagonal would be much more expensive than the ENEA project at Les Corts, but that Club members should know that “remodeling the Camp Nou is a very complex project and it would be inconvenient for Club members.” He added: “worst case scenario is that in the most critical phase of construction our capacity would drop from 99,000 spectators to 87,000. The Camp Nou would be under construction for three years.”
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