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El Salvador president Nayib Bukele has announced that construction has begun on a new El Salvador stadium for the national football team. The Estadio Nacional de El Salvador will be the largest football stadium in Central America and is scheduled to be ready in 2027.
The new stadium will hold 50,000 spectators, as well as a multi-sports facility outside the stadium with two basketball courts, fast football fields and parking for 1,400 vehicles.
Bukele said: “This is a very important day for us for several reasons. We are laying the first stone of one of the largest infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the country. The most modern stadium in Latin America and the largest in Central America.”
As well as football matches, the stadium will host other events such as festivals, exhibitions and concerts.
Here's everything you need to know about the new El Salvador stadium…
Funding behind the new El Salvador stadium
Estadio Nacional de El Salvador is supported and funded by the People’s Republic of China. On 16 May 2022, the Chinese embassy in San Salvador announced the plans for construction, including the demolition of the Captain General Gerardo Barrios Military School.
The China Aviation Planning and Design Institute (Group) Co., Ltd are in charge of the stadium construction and the overall cost of the project is US$500 million.
El Salvador’s current national stadium
Estadio Cuscatlán has been the national stadium for El Salvador since 1976, as well as being the home stadium for Alianza F.C. and C.D. Atlético Marte. The regulated capacity of the stadium under FIFA rules is now reduced to 34,000.
Although the main function of the stadium is to host football matches, Estadio Cuscatlán has been used for concerts, religious events, cultural events and political rallies.
The stadium has had two major upgrades in 1997 and 2007, which included the installation of an LED screen, an improved drainage system and dugouts for both the home and away teams.
On 20 May 2023, 12 people died at Estadio Cuscatlán due to a crush in the crowd during a game between Alianza F.C. and C.D. Fas in the Primera División de Fútbol de El Salvador.
Opposition to the stadium’s construction
Environmentalists have opposed the construction of the new stadium due to its potential damage to the surrounding flora and fauna, including over 150 species of birds.
They believe that parking areas around the stadium will restrict drinking water supplies, limit retention and increase the risk of flooding.
The stadium will be built in a green area and environmentalists fear that the construction will destroy the El Espino Forest of the metropolitan region of San Salvador.