Andorra: Piqué's team plans new stadium in spectacular location

source: Mundo Deportivo, Estadio Deportivo, FC Andorra, Diari d'Ando; author: Miguel Ciołczyk Garcia

Andorra: Piqué's team plans new stadium in spectacular location After months of discussion and speculation, FC Andorra will have a stadium in... Andorra. Why is this a surprise? Only a few months ago, the former Barca star was threatening to move the club out of the Principality. Although the location is beautiful, the crisis is not yet over.


A great year in professional football or a year in chaos?

2023 was FC Andorra's first full year in professional football, as the club was promoted to the Segunda Division for the first time ever in the 2021/22 season, winning the second group of the Primera RFEF, considered a semi-professional competition. In the 2022/23 season, they finished 7th, one position below play-offs for promotion to Primera. The biggest success, however, was winning the Catalan Cup final for the second time in the club's history.

Things only got worse from the summer onwards, as the club said goodbye to its best players and deep changes shook the stability of the squad, which, despite the opening win of the 2023/24 season, began to slide down the table. To make matters worse, it soon became clear that the club would have to bid farewell to Estadi Nacional, where it has played since 2021.

Estadi Nacional© Moon Hopper

FC Andorra 'kicked out' of Andorra?

As early as the 2022/23 season, there were already rumours of a new stadium for FC Andorra, but the Tricolours abandoned the project due to high costs. Meanwhile, in September 2023, Alain Cabanes, Secretary of State for Sport and Youth, announced that the contract between the club and the Principality for the use of Estadi Nacional, which expires in the summer of 2024, would not be renewed, due to plans to turn the facility into a multi-purpose facility for other sports, primarily rugby.

Club owner Gerard Piqué unleashed a media storm in response, announcing: We invested more than €4 million in adapting Estadi Nacional so that La Liga would let us play, and now you are throwing us out. There is no sports facility in Andorra that meets the conditions to play next year. Thank you for throwing us out of the country. We have no choice but to leave and change the name of the club. Congratulations, you have deprived Andorra of professional football.

Estadi Nacional© Walmaul (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Light at the end of the tunnel for an agreement

The government's initial response was firm. Minister of Culture and Sport Mònica Bonell stressed that the government had given a €1.3 million in subsidies to the club, welcomed it with open arms and allowed it to play in the stadium. She accused the former footballer of exaggerating the amount invested by the club by a round €1 million and that his words do not correspond to reality.

However, the tense atmosphere was alleviated by Prime Minister Xavier Espot Zamora, who said after a meeting with club officials in October that "There is no point in looking back now". He declared his willingness to cooperate and find a new solution, but called for work with quite a lot of discretion. At the same time, he rejected the possibility of funding a new facility for the club, but remained open to a cost-sharing proposal.

Estadi Nacional© stadiumgallery

Stadium project getting closer to realisation

According to Mundo Deportivo, talks have been ongoing since November with the owners of Borda Mateu, a site located a few kilometres from the capital. The site, located in the mountains, will make it easy to create a venue with a unique atmosphere. Although there have been rumours of the club moving to the old Estadi Comunal or to the new stadium under construction by the Andorran Football Federation, which is to be finished by the autumn, local media are reporting progress in negotiations.

According to local Diari Bondia and Diari d'Andorra, the new facility is expected to cost between €40m and €50m, with the costs to be shared by the Kosmos company, through which Gerard Piqué controls the club, and the Andorran government. Capacity will be around 6,000 seats and the Tricolours will have a concession to use the facility for 50 years with an option to extend. The contract is expected to be signed soon.

Estadi Nacional©

Until the new facility is delivered, FC Andorra will, nevertheless, play at Estadi Nacional. Given the situation in the early autumn, this is undoubtedly a happy ending. However, if the club fails to climb out of the bottom of the table, it will face relegation to the third tier of the competition and the stadium project could fall apart.