If before the planning of the Espai Barça project the Club facilities had become obsolete in many aspects with more than 40% of the stadium exactly how it was in the year of its construction (1957), now it is the Espai Barça project itself that has become obsolete after years of waiting as it does not foresee the innovations and advances in technology, the environment, construction and the social area necessary for a project of this magnitude, which has to generate more opportunities for social and economic development for the Club and must be valid for future generations.
An undervalued project in terms of cost and time
With the entry of the new Board of Directors, we have the opportunity to review and update the real costs of the project, since these do not correspond to the reality of Espai Barça as it was raised. The real cost of the financing plan approved by the members in a referendum in 2014 is now completely out of date and undervalued in terms of budget with a reduction to 200 million euros of debt necessary, something which has never been achieved as the current debt is now more than 1.3 billion euros. The schedule of the project is also now outdated.
The cost of the investment was underestimated with regards to other projects ongoing and completed in other parts of the world and failed to take into account the improvements in technology and sustainability for a project that needs to be relevant for a long time into the future. The only facility from the project completed, the Estadi Johan Cruyff, went overbudget from 4 million euros to some 19 million euros.
The financial cuts suffered by the Espai Barça project have hindered and weakened the construction plan with out of date structures maintained for the constructions of the new stadium that would have had a negative effect on its future use.
Hidden problems for members
Form a social point of view, the original project negatively affected members with season tickets and the safety risks were never fully explained. The project as it was originally envisaged saw the construction of a new first tier which would have forced some 12,500 members to move to the third tier. This is a line that the Board of Directors do not want to cross due to the negative impact on members. Now, with improvements in the construction project, the effects will be minimal.
The Club is considering different scenarios amongst which the possibility of playing away from Camp Nou, something which would have an effect on the construction schedule, reducing the time needed to conclude the initial building work, making it as efficient as possible.
In the financial field, the project needs to optimise income and make the Club more competitive; after the pandemic it is also necessary to take another look at how the facilities function.