Atletico Madrid hail 'major progress' in new La Peineta stadium project

9 November 2016

Atletico Madrid have hailed "major progress" in the development of their new La Peineta stadium, although doubts remain over whether everything will be in place for the club to make the move from their current home next summer.

Atletico first announced plans back in 2009 to move from the Vicente Calderon near the centre of Madrid to a new home in the former athletics stadium on the outskirts of the Spanish capital, which is being extensively remodelled and modernised to seat more than 70,000 fans.The project has been hit by various setbacks over the years but recent months have seen an acceleration of work at La Peineta, with a key part of the roof structure now in place.

"Major progress in the placing of the compression ring for the roofing of the new stadium," read a short club statement published along with a slideshow of photos showing work is progressing but still far from completion less than nine months before they are due to start 2017-18 in their new home.Atletico also said that 25,000 club socios have already chosen their seats in the new stadium, which can be done by paying a €60 deposit on a season ticket for 2017-18.

Meanwhile, issues with the local authorities around the provision of transport links to the new ground have yet to be resolved. Leaders in Madrid city council and local government have recently argued publicly over who was responsible for funding and managing the provision of the required infrastructure, with central government ministers and Metro chiefs also needing to come to an agreement. During a debate in September, PSOE city councillor Mercedes Gonzalez joked that "helicopters" would be needed to bring fans to the new ground.

Colchoneros president Enrique Cerezo said last month at a big ceremony to announce a lighting system for the new ground that "everything" would be ready on time."The stadium will be a reality next year," Cerezo said. "We are working as a team with the regional government and the town hall so that we can have installed for next season new lights, new services, parking, restaurants, metro, everything."

The future of the site of the current Calderon has still to be resolved. Initially it was planned to build 30-storey residential towers on the prime site by Madrid's Manzanares river, but courts have repeatedly ruled that such a project is not possible within the current planning regulations for the area.