Saturday 20 January 2018

Madrid shelve plans for revamp of Bernabeu stadium

General view of Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid
General view of Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid

Sam Wallace

Real Madrid have announced the suspension of their £330m redevelopment of the Bernabeu stadium after the Madrid supreme court repealed the planning permission for the project, which includes a hotel and shopping complex and a retractable roof.

It was revealed in April 2013 that the European Commission (EC) was investigating the club over allegations of illegal state aid surrounding the deal with Madrid council - which resulted in Real coming into ownership of the land required to go ahead with the development.

The club made the announcement on Tuesday evening and it is not yet clear what aspect of the planning agreement has caused the court to overturn it.

The development was initially suspended by the court last August after the EC said it was looking into the state aid allegations, which centre upon the Las Tablas parcel of land.

The city council gave the club Las Tablas in 1998, then valued at €421,000, as part of a deal between the two to ­settle outstanding debts. When it was ­discovered 13 years later that the land should not have been given to Real, they were compensated with land around the ­Bernabeu worth €22.7m, a 5,400 per cent rise.

Real's president, Florentino Perez, announced the new stadium plans last January, saying that they were central to the club's future competitiveness in European football.

The club said on Tuesday they would seek to "reform" the planning agreement. There are municipal elect­ions in May likely to bring a change of leadership in the city council, with the potential for power to shift to politicians less inclined to work with the club than their predecessors.

The possibility of building a new stadium altogether, near the club's training base Valdebebas, has been floated in the past. The EC investigation remains the single biggest obstacle to Perez's plans.

Elsewhere, Luis Suarez had the Barcelona fans chanting his name after he set up Lionel Messi to score the opening goal in a 3-1 victory for the record winners in their King's Cup semi-final, first leg at home to Villarreal last night.

Uruguay forward Suarez won possession in the Villarreal half in the 41st minute at the Nou Camp before laying a perfect pass into Messi's path for the Argentina captain to sweep a first-time shot past 'keeper Sergio Asenjo. Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique completed the scoring. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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