Barcelona approves new $820mn stadium plans
Increased capacity and improved facilities part of proposals
Spanish giants Barcelona have revealed plans for a brand new $820mn football stadium.
The proposals, which were approved by the board, will see the new stadium built over the current structure and increase capacity, from just short of 100,000 seats to 105,000.
There will also be a roof built over the ground to cover the spectator areas, with work expected to start in 2017 and be complete in 2021.
Barcelona, who are sponsored by the Qatar Foundation, is collectively owned by 160,000 members, with 72% of a low 37,535 turnout backing the proposal.
"A key factor behind Barca's desire to update the Nou Camp is their need to take greater advantage of the opportunities available in the highly lucrative corporate hospitality market.
"Barcelona is one of the world's most popular destinations for big-money trade shows, and the chance to attract more high-paying business customers is a major potential revenue stream for the club.
"The current Nou Camp's facilities in that regard are woefully inadequate, and it's notable that the plans released by the club on Monday include 'a new ring of boxes, restaurants and other VIP facilities' with the addition of 3,500 new corporate seats."
"It has been a historic day," said president Josep Maria Bartomeu.
"This is a big step forward for Barcelona," he added.
The new Camp Nou would include three main areas: the Camp Nou itself, a new Palau Blaugrana for 10,000 spectators and the Espai Barça (Barça Space), which would involve buildings for different purposes integrated into the district.
The restructuring would mean moving the new Miniestadi to the Ciutat Esportiva training ground, which would seat between 6,000 and 7,000 people.
Outside, the Camp Nou will have more parking spaces, making room for a total of 5,000 cars.
Bartomeu added: "In 2021 we will have a Nou Camp which all Barcelona members and fans will be proud of and allow us to say we have a ground of the same level as our team.
"Many members have told me that they have voted for a project which, because of their age, they will never see. But for a better Barcelona and better Nou Camp for their grandchildren."
Barcelona have played at the Nou Camp since it was built in 1957 and the stadium has hosted two European Cup finals - in 1989 and 1999. It also hosted World Cup matches in 1982 and the Olympic football tournament in 1992.
The club has been working with ISG (a company specialising in identifying and optimising new sources of income and improving the spectator experience in new stadiums), sports and entertainment giants AEG, ICON Venue Group (a company specialising in project management, and stadium development around the world) and Ryder Levett Bucknall (specialists in the financial control and management of projects).