Spain’s La Liga Giants Barcelona and Real Madrid Seeing Stadium Expansion Questions due to Coronavirus

Impression of FC Barcelona´s new "covered" Nou Camp stadium.

LA LIGA has seen no matches since early March, and all the talk has been of when it might resume, as clubs face severe pressure over paying salaries, with TV rights holders threatening to withdraw vital payments.

The crisis has also hit the big giants of Barcelona and Real Madrid, and thrown some doubt over their costly stadium redevelopment plans.

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Real had already started some work at their Santiago Bernabéu ground, whilst Barcelona were going to press the start button at the Camp Nou for their project once the La Liga season had finished.

But with no imminent return of football action with the end of May seen as the earliest and optimistic resumption date, any downtime for major construction work appears to have dramatically reduced.

That’s unless fixtures are fulfilled behind closed doors allowing building work to progress without the problem of accommodating spectators.

Barcelona said that it was working on overcoming final hurdles to start construction work on the stadium when the coronavirus outbreak started, putting everything on hold.

The club had been finalising the financing plan that would go before its members in a vote.

“The crisis forced it to be put on hold until the pandemic has passed and the world returns to normal,” the club said.

“Without a time frame for the end of the crisis, it is impossible to know how the construction process will be hit.”

Barcelona said those in charge of the stadium’s renovation project remained “working and making progress and looking at the possible effects of Covid-19” to reduce delays.

Work on urban redevelopment areas and smaller venues around the Camp Nou had already started before the pandemic.

The stadium will have a new roof covering all seating sections and its seated capacity will increase from 99,000 to 105,000.

The cost of the project was initially estimated at nearly €500 million, with work originally set to have been finished before the start of the 2021-22 La Liga campaign.

Work at the Bernabéu in Madrid began last August and had continued during the season between matches.

It went on even after lockdown measures were introduced in mid-March, though it was stopped for a fortnight after non-essential industries were ordered to stop.

Construction resumed this week, but massive uncertainty over future income levels and when the money taps will start flowing again, gives plenty of cause for concern for both Real Madrid and Barcelona.


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