Argentinian Primera División football club River Plate will return to a revamped El Monumental tomorrow (Saturday), with the first phase completed of what is intended to be a broader redevelopment project.

In August, the Buenos Aires giant announced plans to utilise the COVID-19 period to revamp its stadium, with the long-term goal of bringing fans closer to the action. River last played at El Monumental for a Copa Libertadores match on March 11, 2020, but will return tomorrow for a Primera División game against Rosario Central, albeit behind closed doors.

The club claims that through the renovations, River’s players will now enjoy the best playing field in South America due to the installation of a new pitch with hybrid technology. The irrigation system has also been improved, while the athletics track separating the pitch from the stands has been removed and a new players’ tunnel installed.

Fencing has been removed allowing for a better viewing experience for fans, who will also benefit from a new stadium Wi-Fi system, new toilets and concessions. The club has invested ARS200m (£1.6m/€1.85m/$2.24m) in the works, with further development planned.

In the second stage of development, for which a timetable has yet to be set, River is looking to expand El Monumental from its current capacity of around 74,000 to 80,000. The first phase has been designed to enable this.

El Monumental is one of Argentina’s leading stadia and River has called it home since 1938. The stadium is due to be one of the host venues for Argentina and Colombia’s co-hosting of the 2021
Copa América.

In August 2019, River announced that the capacity of El Monumental had been expanded by nearly 4,000.

Image: River Plate