Barcelona has denied claims that president Joan Laporta violated club rules when awarding the Camp Nou development contract.
The massive “Espai Barca” remodeling project was first approved in April 2014, when club members voted in favor of the plan to develop Camp Nou and the surrounding areas.
A second referendum in April 2021 approved the financial plan, which increased the project’s maximum budget to €1.5 billion.
It will improve 40,000 square meters of land in addition to adding a retractable roof and increasing the stadium’s seating capacity from 6,000 to 105,000.
The Turkish company Limak will be responsible for remodeling the stadium, according to a statement made earlier this month. However, a report by the Spanish digital newspaper El Confidencial claimed on Monday that the company should not have been included in the club’s bid process for the job.
According to El Confidencial, Limak should have been ineligible because it allegedly could not provide evidence of building a stadium with more than 40,000 capacity in the past 10 years and did not present two references of buildings constructed in Spain for greater than €150m over the same period.
The publication suggested the alleged oversight put Barca’s building license with the local council at risk, but the club insists the accusations are inaccurate, pointing to a “new tender process” dated from September 1, 2022.
A long statement began: “Barcelona wants to refute the story published today, Monday, January 23, 2023 in El Confidencial titled: ‘Laporta broke the Barca rules to award the Camp Nou work to the Turkish company Limak’.”
The letter highlighted five specific sections of the report followed by “FALSE” and an explanation, with most points coming back to Barca highlighting the start of a new tender process in September.
“The bid specifications for the restructuring work on Camp Nou were announced to all the companies that submitted bids and were effective date from September 1, 2022,” the statement continued. “The terms and conditions set forth therein established no requirement for bidding companies to have built a football stadium with more than 40,000 seats or two constructions in Spain.
“Prior to this bidding process, there was a process that commenced in 2017, and which was cancelled in December 2020 by means of an official communication on the Barcelona supplier portal to all participating companies at that time.
“It was not until September 2022 when the new bidding process began, the outcome of which was for the project to be awarded to LIMAK as the best rated company.
“There was no breach of the terms and conditions as these were associated to the new tender process, which is dated from September 1, 2022.”
It added: “As we have set out previously, the document [that El Confidencial claimed to have seen] referred to is for the pre-qualification that began in 2017, and in no way corresponds to the requisites in the conditions laid down on September 1, 2022.
“The process of obtaining a building licence from Barcelona City Council is totally independent of the adjudication process for the company to carry out the construction.
“In no way is the building licence at risk because the name on the licence is that of Barcelona as the initiator of the construction, not the construction company.”