FC Barcelona members have voted in favor of raising additional funds to revamp its ailing Camp Nou stadium.
The Catalan club asked members to support raising as much as €1.5 billion ($1.74 billion) to renovate and further develop facilities at the iconic Camp Nou — a project known as Espai Barca.
The plan involves renovating the stadium — Europe’s biggest, with a capacity of 105,000 fans — as well as another venue used for other sports like basketball. Both facilities are in a precarious condition, forcing the club to fund regular repairs and pay fines for not meeting European competition requirements.
Club president Joan Laporta left open the possibility that club members could participate in the funding of the project.
Earlier this month Barcelona’s new management team, which took over in March, presented the result of a due diligence conducted over the previous management’s handling off the club. The report found liabilities of €1.35 billion in March 2021. Payroll had jumped 61% in three years, administrative costs were up 56% in and there was a 600% increase in financial costs.
Between June 2019 and March 2021, the club’s net financial debt increased by €514 million to €673 million, mostly due to investment made on the purchase and sale of players, according to the report. The fragile financial situation forced Barcelona to give up superstar Lionel Messi, considered one of the best players in the history of the game, before the start of this season.
Barcelona expects to generate €200 million of additional revenue annually, attracting more visitors to use the new spaces and reaching more attractive deals with sponsors.
Goldman Sachs, which arranged a private placement of €595 million of notes for the club in August, has a mandate to raise the funds for the stadium revamp.
The club is planning a 35-year funding for the plan, with annual interests and debt repayment with the additional revenue generated.
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