Estadio Gran Parque Central (El Parque Central)
|Clubs||Club Nacional de Fútbol|
|Inauguration||25/05/1900 (Deutscher Fussball Klub - CURCC)|
|Renovations||1911, 1923, 1944, 1980, 2005, 2010|
|Address||Carlos Anaya 2900, Montevideo 11600, Uruguay|
El Parque Central – stadium description
Historically this is one of Uruguay’s most iconic stadiums, important to global football history too. It’s reportedly the oldest functioning stadium across South America. It’s been home to Nacional Montevideo from its earliest days. Well, not from the earliest – Nacional played its first game two days after official opening in May 1900.
Of course today’s stadium is nothing like it was at the very beginning. The field was rotated and modest wooden stands could accommodate up to some 10,000 until first expansion in 1911. By then it was 15,000 and further works came ahead of the 1923 Copa America.
The stadium’s global significant begins a bit later, in 1930. This is when the very first World Cup game was played at this very stadium, exactly on June 13. In all fairness there were two games held simultaneously, but the second host venue Estadio Pocitos was later demolished.
1930 was the year of glory and decline for El Parque, because just 1km south-east the great Estadio Centenario was opened and took over all national team games of Uruguay, previously held at Nacional’s home. Even the Nacional-Penarol home derby game was transferred to larger Centenario.
The stadium was due for reconstruction in 1939, but the project went on hold and fire consumed wooden stands in 1941. By 1944 it had its first concrete grandstand, which is the current south stand. Then gradually additional sections were being added and the process is ongoing as this is written in 2015.
Oddly enough, the stadium has its dark stories to tell, those of death. In its early days it was the site of duels. And in 1918 known player of Nacional Abdón Porte was found dead in the centre of the field, apparently after he had committed suicide.
New design: Nacional change stadium vision
It’s less unified than the previous plan, but more rational. And Nacional are about to outgrow archrivals Penarol in terms of capacity by just 14 seats!