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Plans are already in place for a redevelopment of Camp Nou but the candidate says his proposal would be more cost-effective

One of the candidates in Barcelona’s upcoming presidential election has promised to knock down Camp Nou and build a new stadium if he is elected.

Agusti Benedito says his plans would be cheaper than the ‘Espai Barca’ project which is already in the works.

Those plans would see Camp Nou’s capacity rise to 105,000 but work has been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic since being approved in 2018.

Along with an improvement in on-field performances, the future of Lionel Messi and the club’s finances, the future of Camp Nou is a key issue in the election, which will take place on January 24.

Benedito suggests Barca could play at Espanyol’s former stadium, constructed for the 1992 Olympic Games, for three years while a new stadium is built.

“If we win the elections, we will build a new stadium,” Benedito said at a campaign presentation.

“We have considered two options. The first is to knock Camp Nou down and build it in the same place. That would mean playing in Montjuic for three years.

“The other option is to build a new stadium in Sant Joan Despi [the site of Barcelona’s training ground]. It would be voted on in a referendum during the first year of our mandate if we’re elected on January 24.

“If we do it immediately, the project we’re putting forward wouldn’t cost more than €900 million (£817m/$1.1bn).

“This would be financed by the sale of the stadium’s naming rights for a period of 25 years.”

A host of presidential candidates are hoping to replace former incumbent Josep Maria Bartomeu, who resigned along with the rest of his board in October 2020 after a motion of no confidence against him.

Barcelona are currently under the leadership of temporary president Carles Tusquets.

Tusquets laid bare the economic challenges facing the club when he said that, had he been in charge at the time, he would have sold the wantaway Messi over the summer.

He told RAC1: “Economically speaking, I would have sold Messi in the summer.

“It would have been desirable for the money you would’ve received and the money you would’ve saved. La Liga requires wage limits.”

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December 23, 2020
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