Bill Mannarelli, the head of Barcelona’s Espai Barça project, has left his role with the Spanish LaLiga football club.
Mannarelli joined Barcelona in July 2014 and his departure comes after Joan Laporta returned to the club as president in March. Espai Barça is one of the priority tasks under the mandate of Laporta, who previously served as Barcelona president between 2003 and 2010.
Barcelona announced last week that it had made “small architectural changes” in an attempt to get the project back on track, with Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys targeted as a potential temporary home while work is taking place on the Camp Nou.
Barcelona completed the first part of its Espai Barça masterplan with the opening of Estadi Johan Cruyff in August 2019. Espai Barça seeks to transform and integrate Barcelona’s stadia and arenas. The programme envisages the redevelopment of the Camp Nou, and the creation of the Barça Campus, which involves opening the club facilities up to the city, removing architectural barriers and introducing measures to improve urban mobility in the vicinity of the stadium.
However, little real progress has been made since the opening of Estadi Johan Cruyff, with arch rival Real Madrid forging ahead with its transformation of Estadio Santiago Bernabéu.
News of Mannarelli’s departure was first reported by Catalan newspaper Ara. His departure follows those of chief executive Óscar Grau, sports director Albert Soler and head of legal services Román Gómez Ponti.
The Espai Barça project will see the Camp Nou’s capacity increase from around 99,000 to over 105,000, with a new roof set to be one of the main features of the revamped stadium. The extensive work scheduled will mean that Barcelona is set to require a temporary home.
Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, which was the main stadium for Barcelona’s 1992 Summer Olympic Games, has been pinpointed for this role. It previously served as the home of Espanyol from 1997 to 2009, before the Segunda Division club moved to its new RCDE Stadium.