FC Barcelona have started to adapt the olympic stadium in the Catalan capital to their needs. "Blaugrana" will play at the venue in the 2023-24 season, all because that is when the work to modernise Camp Nou is scheduled to peak.
Back at the beginning of July, we reported that FC Barcelona had signed an agreement with the city council to allow the use of Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys without major obstacles. The arena will be available for Barça's 23-24 season during match days, but also the day before and the day after. This means that five-time UEFA Champions League triumphers will be able to prepare for important matches by training on the pitch of this stadium.
Before this can happen, however, the venue must be properly adapted to current standards. The arena officially opened in 1927 and underwent its biggest renovation in the early 1990s in order to prepare it for the 1992 Summer Olympics. It was the focal point of the competition, including the athletics events. The opening and closing ceremonies of the event also took place there. Five years later, Espanyol footballers took over the stadium and have been using it until 2009. They left it with the inauguration of the modern Estadi Cornellà-El Prat.
© Justin-Scott Salvador
However, coming back to Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys topic, FC Barcelona have begun to implement the necessary changes to ensure the facility meets all the La Liga and UEFA infrastructure requirements. Work has started with the replacement of the turf drainage, irrigation and water treatment systems. This will be followed by the refurbishment of the players' changing rooms, press area and hospitality. Modern equipment will be installed for the creators of the TV signal of the "Blaugrana" matches.
Barça's move to the local olympic stadium also means a number of changes and investments in the city. Above all, Barcelona authorities will improve public transport to the area around the stadium. New bus lines will be set up and the length of the metro line that runs to the arena will be extended. A cycle path will also be created between Plaza España and Miramar and the lighting systems in the pedestrian walkways leading to the venue will be replaced.
Not much has happened at Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys over the past 12 years. The stadium hosted the European Athletics Championships in 2010 and this event, for the moment, completes the list of prestigious events it has organised to date. It is already known that further chapters will be written in 2023. If FC Barcelona's good form does not break down, the arena should still host Champions League football matches this year. Never in its very rich history has this venue hosted matches of this elite competition.
FC Barcelona is relocating due to the general refurbishment of Camp Nou, which is scheduled to be completed in 2026. This investment is estimated to be worth €900 million. "Blaugrana" will also incur additional costs for the one-year move to Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys. As communicated by club president Joan Laporta, according to estimates it will be between €15-20 million. As he himself argues, the club officials could not find a better alternative for Barça's players and supporters.