Guangzhou Evergrande Are Building The World's Largest Football Stadium
Last year’s Chinese Super League champions are building what they claim will be the biggest football-only stadium in the world, with seat capacity expected to eclipse that of Barcelona’s Camp Nou.
Graphic designs of what the finished article will look like have emerged and it looks pretty insane. 100,000 seats are covered by a lotus flower roof, with the ‘petals’ installed with millions of LED lights sometimes showing the score of the match, other times holding spectacular light shows. The whole thing is very ostentatious and typical of neo-China’s approach to the beautiful game.
That said, facilities will no doubt be incredible. 12 billion yuan ($1.7bn) is being thrown at it so you’d hope that they would be (Wembley cost around $1.2bn). Evergrande are also building two more 80,000+ stadiums in China in preparation for the 2021 Club World Cup, despite recording a loss of 1.9 billion yuan in 2019.
Founder of the Evergrande Group Xi Jiayin controls the most shares in the club and was Asia’s richest man not long ago with a net worth of $45.3 billion in 2017. However, the swinging flail of corona has hit Xi pretty hard where it hurts - he reported a personal loss of $12 billion this year.
Details of when or where these other two huge stadiums will be built are yet to be released, but it’s unlikely that Evergrande Group’s financial difficulties will get in the way. China’s ambitions to host the 2030 or 2034 FIFA World Cup are strong and Xi Jinping’s burning desire to see Chinese football succeed on the world stage is even stronger, so the project is bound to receive significant government funding.
乘风破浪 - to ride the wind and cleave the waves - to have high ambitions