As China is steadily recovering from the coronavirus outburst, Guangzhou Evergrande, a Chinese football club based in Guangdong province, South China, announced that construction works for the world's largest football stadium have begun. The works will be completed by the end of 2022 and the total cost of the project will reach $1.7 billion. For the past 9 years, Guangzhou Evergrande is accommodated in the Tianhe Stadium that has a capacity of 60,000 fans.
Guangzhou Evergrande is a successful club that has won 8 national championships and is the only Chinese team that has also won the Asian Champions League 2 times.
The design of the lotus-shaped facility was initially conceived by Xu Jiayin, chairman of Evergrande Group, and is now handled by Hasan Syed, an American architect who is based in Shanghai. The lotus blossom is one of the most essential symbolic characters in Chinese culture and is presented in many artworks and architectural designs. The beauty of the flower rising from the mud symbolizes purity and perfection of the heart and mind.
According to Xia Haijun, Vice President of Evergrande Group, the aim of the new stadium is to make an essential change and ameliorate Chinese football. "Evergrande Stadium will become a new world-class landmark comparable to the Sydney Opera House and Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and an important symbol of Chinese football to the world," Xia Haijun, stated.
Moreover, Evergrande acknowledges the lack of modern football stadium infrastructure in China and plans to erect 3-5 similar facilities in the future, a fact that would make the country capable of hosting a World Cup one day.
Once ready, the facility will slightly exceed Camp Nou, the fabled stadium of Barcelona that can accommodate 99,354 people, in terms of capacity.
According to recent reports, the Chinese Football Championship (CSL) which was suspended in February 2020 due to the coronavirus outburst, will begin again in summer 2020. “Based on the assessment of the current situation, the new season will start at the end of June or the beginning of July,” Huang Shenghua, CEO of Guangzhou R&F, another football club in the city, stated. Yet, an official kickoff date has not been announced by officials. A major issue that needs to be resolved is what will happen with the players that are abroad as travel restrictions for foreigners have been established to mitigate the pandemic's spread.