New Wave – Celta’s new plans for the Estadio Balaidos
There have been plans to rebuild the Estadio Balaidos since Celta Vigo suffered the embarrassment of a failed UEFA inspection in 2003. However, relegation, finance and local opposition, including one appeal from the Director General of the huge Citroën factory just across the road from the Rio stand, scuppered hopes. Vigo was also included as a venue for Spain’s failed 2018 World Cup bid, but the €123m project never left the drawing board. Finally in the spring of 2015, work started €30m project to revamp and in part, rebuild the stadium.
The first part of the project will consist of rebuilding the lower tier of the Preferencia. This will bring the front of the stand 3 metres closer to and pitch and will also include new changing rooms and private boxes at the rear. The large Rio stand will have a refit and new media facilities added. Both stands will get new roofs and should be ready for the start of the 2017-18 season. Work is then due to commence on rebuilding either end of the stadium, with the oval shape finally disappearing after 89 years. Both end stands will feature two tiers and be built within 4 meters of the pitch. All the separate stands will be linked by corner units and a new roof.
The new roof will have a 25 metre span, which given the Galician weather makes sense, and will be the same height throughout despite the variances in the size of the separate stands. The exterior of the stadium will be clad in 3 metre-wide, curved aluminium panels which will supposedly mimic the nearby Atlantic Ocean. The proposed final capacity will be a slightly reduced 31,100. The project will be equally funded by the Ayuntimiento de Vigo, the Galician regional authorities, the Vigo Free Trade Consortium and the club itself. However, not all funds have been agreed and to be frank, it does seem to be an awful lot of work for the relatively modest €30m price tag. It seems certain that some of the rebuild will be completed, but I have my doubts about whether we will see the finished article, let alone by the end of 2018.