By Associated Press
BARCELONA: Barcelona will play the 2023-24 season away from Camp Nou while Europe’s largest soccer stadium undergoes a massive overhaul, the Spanish club said Thursday.
The club said Barcelona will play its games at the municipally owned Lluís Companys Stadium. The stadium, which has a capacity of about 60,000 spectators, hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1992 Olympics.
The club said its long-delayed project to remodel and modernize Camp Nou, which currently seats 99,000 spectators, will begin this year after it received the final go-ahead from the city.
Games will continue to be played at Camp Nou next season. After playing the following campaign away from Camp Nou, the club wants games to return for the 2024-25 season, albeit with attendance reduced to 50% because of construction work. The club plans to finish the stadium work during the 2025-26 season.
The club wants to increase Camp Nou’s capacity to 110,000 while also refurbishing its surrounding area, which includes a pavilion for the club’s other sports, the museum and stores. It has budgeted 1.5 billion euros ($1.57 billion) for the project.
Barcelona’s crosstown rival, Espanyol, played at the Lluís Companys Stadium from 1997-2009. The stadium, whose field is ringed by an athletics track, sits atop a small hill that offers views of the Mediterranean city.
Barcelona had considered using its much smaller Johan Cruyff Stadium, which is located outside the city, as an alternative site.