Barcelona fans are preparing for a nomadic existence over the course of the 2023/2024 season as their stadium undergoes significant and long overdue redevelopment. Indeed, the Catalan club has put off the construction work to their stadium due to their crippling debts that have threatened to put them into liquidation.
This time around, though, they have been bailed out by Goldman Sachs who have lent Barcelona over £500 million to carry out the necessary upgrades. Astonishingly, these upgrades will consist of putting in corporate boxes that the Nou Camp doesn’t have, which in this day and age, when corporate hospitality is the biggest money turner, is a revelation that is hard to believe.
Barcelona’s new €1.5bn loan from Goldman Sachs for a stadium rebuild takes the club’s borrowing to astonishing levels. But somehow they found the funds for Ferran Torres. On a club living on debt and praying for a Super League win in court in 2022 https://t.co/znTy8Hc3Um
— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) December 30, 2021
Perhaps this gives you a better idea of how the club has been run into the ground for a sustained period of time and why the new president, Joan Laporta, is having to go to the world’s wealthiest banks with cap in hand and ask for money. Simply put, there is none at the club or at least, nowhere near enough to bankroll a stadium redevelopment of the type they are hoping to pull off.
This ultimately means that the club will have to move out of the Nou Camp during the playing of the 2023/2024 season whilst the most significant work is done. All in all, the work will carry on for three years and during two of them, the club is allowed to remain at the Nou Camp. However, the ground’s official capacity will be severely reduced.
When the club does move, it is thought that they will play at the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona, which has a capacity of 60,713 seats. This will help soften the financial blow that moving out of the Nou Camp will bring with it. Indeed, the lack of foot traffic through the turnstiles will add to the squeeze Barca is feeling in the accounts and you do wonder how they plan to get through this time should they not be able to secure Champions League football this season.
To give English football fans a comparison of how serious the situation is at the Nou Camp, it’s best to imagine that Tottenham Spurs are in Barcelona’s shoes with mounting debts due to stadium expenditure and European football far from a certainty. That is at least, what the latest Premier League betting markets indicate, with regards to a top-four finish with Spurs at 13/8 to end the season in the coveted Champions League places.Although it sho
uld be said that Spurs can probably afford to take the hit for at least one more year before they have to raise outside funds to absorb the cost of a season without lucrative European TV money.
EXCLUSIVE: Nou Camp in urgent need of repair as Barcelona stadium compared to old Plough Lane https://t.co/mdHyFzeNBS
— Daily Star Sport (@DailyStar_Sport) January 29, 2022
Barcelona, on the other hand, simply can’t. It is indeed a case of the club having to go broke even though they have grand future plans. The long and short of it is that any misstep now in the race to secure a Championship League finish could spell disaster for Barcelona when they move home in the 2023/2034 season.