Football: Real president caught revealing 'Ipic' stadium name

The west facade of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, home to Spanish football club Read Madrid. -- PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
The west facade of the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, home to Spanish football club Read Madrid. -- PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

MADRID (REUTERS) - Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has been caught on camera apparently revealing the future name of the club's revamped stadium as either 'Ipic Bernabeu' or 'Cepsa Bernabeu'.

Real last month agreed a strategic partnership with Abu Dhabi fund International Petroleum Investment Co (Ipic) that will help finance a planned stadium overhaul costing around 400 million euros (S$649 million) and due to be completed by 2017.

Ipic's holdings include Spanish energy firm Compania Espanola de Petroleos (Cepsa) and Perez was captured on the sidelines of an event on Tuesday by a camera from television show El Chiringuito De Neox, saying: "We are going to put Ipic Bernabeu or whatever they want... or Cepsa Bernabeu".

Real chose a design led by German architects GMP for the remodelling of the stadium, which was opened in the 1950s and holds just over 80,000 spectators.

The project, to add a striking new roof and exterior to the current structure and include a hotel and a shopping centre, is meant to help the world's richest club by income boost revenue.

However, a Madrid court has thrown the plans into doubt by ruling that a deal between Real and the Madrid council, which would allow land adjacent to the stadium to be incorporated into the work, should be suspended because the European Commission is examining it for possible illegal state aid.

Perez did not reveal what the revamped stadium would be called when the Ipic deal was announced but said the agreement marked "the start of a long journey and the beginning of a strong partnership".

Real became the first football club to amass annual revenues of more than 500 million euros in the 2011-12 season and Perez announced in September that income had surged to 604 million euros in 2013-14.

The European champions last year agreed a five-year shirt sponsorship deal with Dubai-based airline Emirates that Spanish media reported was worth 30 million euros a season.

On Tuesday at the event where Perez was filmed, the construction magnate unveiled an agreement between Real and Microsoft Corp to create a digital platform to connect the club's fans around the world.

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