Real Madrid Club Members Approve €575M Debt Plan for Bernabeu Renovation

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistSeptember 24, 2018

A picture taken on May 1, 2018 shows an outside view of the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu football stadium in Madrid, Spain. -  (Photo by CHRISTOF STACHE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
CHRISTOF STACHE/Getty Images

Real Madrid club members overwhelmingly voted in favour of Florentino Perez's plan to renovate the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu at a cost of €575 million in borrowing on Sunday. 

Per AS, Los Blancos called an Extraordinary Assembly of delegates, with 1,017 voters approving the plan. Fifty-seven voted against, and 23 abstained.

The Spanish Football Podcast shared this video of what the stadium should look like after the remodeling:

Per the report, only €525 million of the loan would go to the renovations, with the extra €50 million reserved for "unforeseen expenses." The loan will be paid back over a period of 30 years.

Club president Perez had a message for critics of the plan, per AS

"We have approved a project that has the members and revenues in mind.

"They say that Bayern's stadium cost 300 million, but the English stadiums, Wembley, Tottenham and Chelsea all cost more than a billion ... Some have said that we do not need a new stadium, for those people we would still be playing in [Estadio] O'Donnell."

There is controversy surrounding the plan because the proposed remodeling would not see an increase in capacity. Most of the changes would be aesthetic, with a retractable roof installed on the current structure.

A naming rights deal with International Petroleum Investment Company was supposed to pay for the majority of the works, but that deal fell through last year.

La Liga club Real Sociedad recently moved back into their partly renovated Estadio Anoeta, showing just how big a difference the improvements made. Football writer Sid Lowe was impressed before the work was even completed:

Many Spanish clubs are expected to follow the example of La Real, but Los Blancos' plans for remodeling have been on the table for some time. Per AS, Perez has been working on the project for nearly 15 years, and his wish now seems on the verge of coming to fruition.

Real played their first match at the Bernabeu in 1947 and have turned the ground into a fortress. Known for its remarkably steep upper sections, the iconic ground is one of the most famed in the sport and has hosted the European Cup or UEFA Champions League final on four occasions. It seats over 81,000 people.

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