Industry News

Bernabéu redevelopment in doubt as sponsor pulls out – report

The planned redevelopment of Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, the home of Spanish LaLiga football club Real Madrid, is reportedly in danger of collapse after a key sponsor of the project withdrew its support.

Citing a report in the El País newspaper, AS has said that Mubadala Investment Company, which had already agreed to cover the stadium redevelopment and the construction of a hotel, has pulled away from the project.

Although reasons behind the reported withdrawal have not yet been revealed, AS highlighted recent difficulties at Mubadala Investment Company that may have had an impact on the decision.

Three years ago, Real Madrid brokered a deal for International Petroleum Investment Company to take on the naming rights to the redeveloped stadium at for a reported €400m ($440.2m/£355m). This amount correlates to the cost of the upgrade project at the venue, including fitting a retractable roof and adding other amenities such as a new commercial centre and a hotel.

However, Khadem al-Qubaisi, the managing director of Mubadala Investment Company, who signed the agreement with the club, was arrested earlier this year after being accused of misappropriation of funds. As a result, the sponsorship deal has been thrown into doubt, as have International Petroleum Investment Company’s and Mubadala Investment Company’s relationship with the project.

Although the future of the redevelopment remains uncertain, Spanish newspaper ABC has said that Real Madrid is still keen to push ahead with the project and is currently seeking an alternate sponsor to support the effort, which also includes expansion of the club museum and improving both accessibility and exit systems.

Santiago Bernabéu Stadium currently has a capacity of just over 81,000 and has been home to Real Madrid since it opened in 1947. The club had been set to begin work on the venue’s redevelopment after Madrid City Council gave its full approval to the project earlier this year.