Football: Nou Camp unsafe say experts

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BARCELONA'S NOU CAMP stadium, the venue for the European Cup final in May, is unsafe for major sporting events, according to architects quoted in the Spanish media yesterday.

A letter from the Barcelona Institute of Quantity Surveyors and Architects to the club on 15 December, and obtained by the sports newspaper AS, set out their concerns.

The problem at Nou Camp is aluminosis, the deterioration of the main metal used in the construction of many modern stadiums. "We confirm that structural elements [of the stadium] have an advanced state of aluminosis, so much so that the strength of the structures is weakened by 30 to 40 per cent," said the letter. "It represents a danger whenever there is a public congregation or an event of national or international interest," they added.

The European Cup final is on 26 May at Nou Camp and, with much of the organisation already completed, Uefa, European football's ruling body, is apparently unwilling to move it from the Catalan city. The 58,000- capacity Montjuic Olympic stadium in Barcelona is reported to be on standby if repairs to Nou Camp, which could cost as much as $3.5m (pounds 2.1m), are not completed on time.