Barcelona have confirmed they will leave their iconic Nou Camp stadium for a season while it undergoes a massive £1.3billion renovation project.
The club announced on Tuesday they will leave their historic ground and play the 2023-2024 campaign at the Olympic Stadium, which hosted the 1992 Summer Olympic Games, a short hop across the city.
Reports in Spain indicate the move to the stadium – also known as Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys or ‘Montjuic’ will cost the cash-strapped club around £17million, before they return to the Nou Camp – set to upgrade from 99,354 seats to 105,000.
The renovation will include a roof being added and the stadium’s name being changed to the ‘Spotify Camp Nou’ in a giant £237m sponsorship deal with the music streaming giants.
Xavi’s side will play there around works in the upcoming 2022-23 season, before their temporary exit and a return at reduced half capacity in 2024-25. The club expect the works to give them an extra £160m per season once complete.
Club president Joan Laporta confirmed the plans – part of the ‘Espai Barca’ project – were agreed with the Barcelona city council.
He said: ‘FC Barcelona will play at this stadium in the 23/24 season, while work is being done on the Espai Barca, for which the City Council recently granted the license. At Barca we are grateful to the city for helping us so much with the negotiations.
‘FC Barcelona is committed to adapting the Olympic facilities and ensuring the comfort of our members and fans on match day. We will modernise various services and auxiliary spaces such as the press room, changing rooms and the indoor parking area. We estimate that the transfer will cost Barca 15-20 million euros (£13-17m).
‘We are talking about the iconic venue of the Barcelona Olympics. We are talking about an international symbol of the city and we would like our season here, 2023-24, to make this stadium the epicentre of Barca supporters, shared with this great city that is Barcelona.
‘All members and season ticket holders who want to come to the stadium will be able to do so by means of a democratic system on a rotation basis so that as many people as possible get the chance to be here at the Olympic Stadium.’
The Olympic Stadium, once home to Barcelona’s fierce intra-city rivals Espanyol from 1997-2009, holds 55,000 – a little over half of the Nou Camp’s top capacity – and Barcelona will update the ground to the tune of £15m before moving in.
Barcelona City Council’s deputy mayor Jaume Collboni added: ‘I think this is the best way to celebrate 30 years of the Olympic Games in the city. We are honoured and proud to welcome Barcelona to the stadium.’