Delegate members at Spanish LaLiga football club Barcelona have voted in favour of the board of directors’ proposal to negotiate a financing operation of up to €1.5bn (£1.1bn/$1.3bn) for the wide-ranging Espai Barça project, which will result in the expansion of the Camp Nou to a capacity of 105,000.

Members met on Saturday during an ordinary general assembly meeting, after Barcelona president Joan Laporta had adjourned a previous meeting to discuss the financing of Espai Barça.

At the resumed session, delegates gave the green light to the funding proposal, with 405 votes in favour, 21 against and six abstentions. The support must be ratified at an upcoming referendum in which all club members will vote on a date that is yet to be determined.

As well as the expansion of the Camp Nou, Espai Barça will deliver a new Palau Blaugrana arena and the wide-ranging Campus Barça development. The first part of the project saw the opening of the new Estadi Johan Cruyff in August 2019.

Laporta welcomed Saturday’s funding approval and said the club would take advantage of the opportunity to improve its facilities and deliver an “extraordinary legacy”. Laporta added that the modernisation of the club’s sports facilities is an “unavoidable necessity” for the future of Barcelona.

Barcelona revealed last week that the club had invested €145m in the Espai Barça project since 2014 but only completed five per cent of the work. The club stated that the project has become “outdated” in financial terms since it was first approved seven years ago.

During Saturday’s meeting, Laporta reiterated that the revised project would avoid the need for 12,500 members to be relocated from the first tier of the Camp Nou to the third. Laporta added that the project “will pay for itself” in the coming years and not cost members any money.

“If we obtain this financing under these conditions, we will restructure the Camp Nou, build a new Palau Blaugrana, and the Petit Palau and a new ice rink,” Laporta said.

“We will also have to respect the environment and create a world benchmark ‘Barça Campus’, together with the modifications resulting from the MPGM (Modification to the General Metropolitan Plan), which is an agreement we have with the local administration.”

It is hoped that work on the Camp Nou expansion will begin in the summer of 2022.

Image: FC Barcelona