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Barça plans sports city expansion amid facility constraints

Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper / FC Barcelona
Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper / FC Barcelona

Barcelona is considering expanding the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper, presenting one of the challenges for Laporta’s board.

FC Barcelona is expanding its teams and athletes every day. There are up to six professional sections of the club, each with a significant number of teams. This growth is causing the Joan Gamper Sports City to become too small.

According to Ferran Correas of SPORT, therefore the board of directors which is led by Joan Laporta, has set the goal of improving it to provide better service to the club’s athletes. The idea is in its infancy but is already sparking debate within the club and the board of directors, who have discussed and studied how to expand a facility that needs to grow, considering the current economic situation of the organization. One idea is to utilize the land the club owns in Viladecans to expand the current Sports City there. This would involve relocating some of the current activities to the new facility.

It was precisely Laporta’s board in 2008 that acquired these lands, purchasing nearly 28 hectares for 18 million euros. The area, as explained at the time, is designated for the construction of sports facilities according to the Metropolitan General Plan. Barcelona described this purchase as a “strategic land reserve.”

The club already owned 37 hectares of land in Viladecans back then, acquired in the seventies under Agustí Montal’s presidency with the intention of building a sports city. However, it was impossible to build on those lands, so the current Joan Gamper Sports City was eventually built on the lands acquired by Josep Lluís Núñez in Sant Joan Despí. To carry out this expansion of the current Sports City without incurring additional costs for the club, the board of directors is considering selling the Can Rigalt lands.

These lands were bought by Núñez’s board in 1997 for 1.5 million euros, sold by Laporta’s board in 2005 for 35.4 million, and acquired again by the club under Josep Maria Bartomeu’s presidency through a court order for 47 million, the amount of the previous sale plus interest.

The current board, again under Laporta’s leadership, revalued the lands, raising their value to 33.3 million, a figure much higher than the 8.4 million assessed by Bartomeu’s board. This revaluation is due to plans for the construction of 1,200 apartments and a hospital on the lands. The board’s idea is to sell these lands and completely divest from them. With the proceeds, one of their goals, expanding the current Sports City, could become a reality. However, everything is still under study and debate. Projects like the renovation of the Spotify Camp Nou and the construction of the new Palau will be completed much sooner.