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Volume 6 No. 197


La Liga  Champion Barcelona is planning nearly $2.5M in upgrades to its facilities during the offseason. As it does "every season, the club will replace Camp Nou stadium's grass field, but this year it will also install a heating system that the technicians consider the best solution," according to EL PERIODICO. Barcelona will invest €530,00 ($683,541) in the heating system and will also spend another €150,000 ($193,455) to change the court at Palau Blaugrana, home of FC Barcelona's basketball and handball teams. The club will also invest €1.2M ($1.55M) in locker room upgrades at Ciudad Deportiva, where the club trains (EL PERIODICO, 5/15).

Man City is "to discuss plans" for a proposed £50M ($76.5M) expansion of the Etihad Stadium by '15, according to Stuart Brennan of the MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS. The Blues "want to speak with local residents before forging ahead with the scheme, which would add a 6,000-seater third tier on the South Stand and increase capacity to 54,000." The club, sensitive to the escalation of cost of match tickets, "hopes to provide a significant number of cheap seasoncards" -- costing under £300 ($459) -- in the new section, which would also include a hospitality area. City "will start talking to residents closest to the stadium next month," and could submit a planning application in fall for third tiers "to be added to both ends of the ground." That would eventually raise the capacity to 60,000 -- "making it the third biggest club ground in England" behind ManU's Old Trafford and Arsenal's Emirates stadium (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 5/15).

RAISING THE ROOF: In London, Ian Herbert reported City's feasibility studies for ways of expanding its ground "have included an analysis of lifting off the roof and creating an entire new tier to boost capacity to over 70,000, hugely increasing match-day income." But a more organic type of development -- increasing the stadium bit by bit -- "is considered the best way to accommodate new capacity as the club's growth brings in more fans." The stand "will accommodate a substantial number of far lower priced tickets season tickets" costing less than £300 (INDEPENDENT, 5/16).

FIFA said that São Paulo's World Cup stadium "will be ready on time," less than 24 hours "after warning the city it could lose the right to stage matches because of delays in building the new arena," according to Brian Homewood of REUTERS. FIFA said that "it had reached a settlement with stadium owners Corinthians the day after the two parties were involved in a public disagreement." Corinthians President Andres Sanchez promised "to have the stadium completed on the originally agreed date" of Dec. 31. Sanchez said, "This was an excellent meeting. There was some misunderstanding but São Paulo and Corinthinas are aware of their responsibilities." FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke agreed the two sides "had made up at Wednesday's meeting." Valcke said, "We are very satisfied with the meeting and with the fact that we could talk face to face. São Paulo will be an example for other cities to deliver the stadium in time, by December 31" (REUTERS, 5/15).

Universidad de Chile "has a debt with its fans: the construction of the club's own stadium," according to EMOL. Though the club has always indicated that this is the people's big dream, for various reasons, "this ambition has been truncated." One of the proposals from the club's management has been building a stadium next to the Estadio Nacional in Santiago. However, "the government is denying this option." Universidad de Chile first spoke with Chile Sport Subsecretary Gabriel Ruiz-Tagle, who rejected the possibility because the country was working on the infrastructure of Estadio Nacional's complex for the 2014 South American (ODESUR) Games. Unversidad de Chile President José Yuraszeck spoke with Universidad fan and Chilean government spokesperson Cecilia Pérez, with the idea to build a 30,000-seat stadium in Ñuñoa, a district of Santiago. However, "the response was again negative, and it was explained that Chile President Sebastián Piñera does not have any interest in forming partnerships with private clubs for the administration of stadiums that would depend on public funds" (EMOL, 5/16).