Club / Facilities / El Sadar stadium

El Sadar stadium

FACILITIES

INFORMATION OF THE STADIUM

DIMENSIONS

104M x 67M

CAPACITY

17.286

OPENING

2ND SEPTEMBER 1967


HISTORY OF 'EL SADAR'

C.A. Osasuna played their last game in the San Juan field on May 7, 1967. Thus, a stadium used since May 21, 1921, bid farewell. The Assembly of Committed Members, held on April 9, 1965, decided to sell the old field. In April 1966, the transfer was made to 'Sociedad Navarra S.A.' for a sum of 40 million pesetas. Having a comfortable field for the spectator, with greater capacity and artificial lighting that would allow night games to be held were necessary conditions. In addition, the earnings from the sale were used to cover the club's pressing debt at that time.

C.A. Osasuna paid 10 million pesetas to acquire the land where the new stadium was to be built. The construction work cost 51 million pesetas financed by the remainder of the sale of San Juan and loans from the savings banks. The construction was carried out in only eleven months. Fourteen thousand cubic meters of concrete were used, including 500,000 kilograms of iron and 350,000 for the roof structure. El Sadar Stadium had a capacity of 25,000 spectators, 7,000 of whom were seated. 'Construcciones Carlos Erroz S.A.' was responsible for carrying out the work.

The inauguration of the 'El Sadar' Stadium took place on 2 September 1967 with a match between Real Zaragoza and Vitoria de Setúbal, from Portugal, in what was the first match of the triangular tournament organised by the Navarrese people for this event. The kick of honour was taken by the president of the C.A. Osasuna, Mr. Jacinto Saldise, accompanied by the stadium's architect, Mr. Tomás Arrarás. The match was held at eight o'clock in the evening and artificial light was necessary. The stadium was lit by four towers, located in the four corners, with 36 spotlights each and 19 reflectors on each side.

Before the match, and following the tradition, the stadium was blessed by the priest of the San Fermín parish, accompanied by the management board, local authorities, and other personalities. The three teams participating in the triangle paraded across the grass preceded by the dance group of the Pamplona City Council. ‘La Pamplonesa’ oversaw the musical repertoire. Besides, there was Olympic training on the pitch for the teams of the lower categories of C.A. Osasuna.

Triangular Tournament

The triangular tournament that inaugurated the field was played by C.A. Osasuna, Real Zaragoza, and the Portuguese team Vitoria de Setúbal. The first match, played on the same day of the opening, faced the Aragonese and the Portuguese teams and ended with a draw at one goal. The first goal registered in the new stadium was scored by Pedras, a player from Vitoria, in the 57th minute.

The next match, between Osasuna and the Portuguese, was played a day later with an Osasunist victory by three goals to one. Osaba, in the 28th minute, scored the first goal of C.A. Osasuna in El Sadar stadium. The tournament ended the 4 of September, with the match C.A. Osasuna 0 - Real Zaragoza 3. The stadium opening ceremony finished that night with a dinner at the Pamplona Tennis Club attended by, among others, the authorities and the teams that participated in the tournament.

The first league match of C.A. Osasuna in the new stadium took place on September 17, 1967, at 17:00 hours, against Sporting de Gijón. The match, part of the Second Division, ended in a 1-1 draw, with Jordana scoring for Osasuna in front of 16,000 spectators.

El Sadar Stadium had its first aesthetic change in the 77/78 season when the protective fences were installed after the Spanish Football Federation forced all the First and Second Division clubs to undertake this reform for security reasons. The first televised match in the stadium was held in the 81/82 season, which ended with C.A. Osasuna winning by three goals to two against F.C. Barcelona.

 

New grandstand

El Sadar was remodelled in 1989 with the construction of the High Preference Grandstand, with a cost of 561 million pesetas. C.A. Osasuna, with no debts at that time, had been left out of the sanitation plan that was going to be carried out by the Administration and it was not foreseen that it would receive any money from pools either. The answer of the president, Mr. Fermín Ezcurra, was to raise a new platform charging it to the private debt that the Professional Football League was going to assume. With this modification, the stadium had a capacity of 30,000 spectators, a figure reduced years later to 20,000 by UEFA guidelines when, for safety reasons, all the stadiums were forced to have only seating places.

In December 1998, C.A. Osasuna installed its first official store. On May 29, 1999, the offices at the back of the stadium were officially inaugurated. Until that date, the administrative work of the red team was managed from the charismatic offices in Plaza del Castillo.

In January 1999, a new modification came to reality: a modern video scoreboard was installed in the corner of the goal and the main grandstand. On November 13, 1999, the new headquarters of the club and the boardroom were inaugurated in ‘El Sadar’ stadium. These rooms, as well as the offices, had been located in the Plaza del Castillo until this move.

The 99/00 season brought variations on the outside of the stadium. During that season, two restaurants opened their doors on the outside of the building. The stadium's press room also changed its location.

The 02/03 season also brought many new features to the stadium. The old press booths were relocated to the upper tribune of the stadium. They were reformed to be more comfortable and, transforming them to modern press boxes with televisions. The old press area began to be used as VIP seats. In addition, two huge canvases with Osasunist motifs were installed outside the stadium, enhancing the aesthetics of ‘El Sadar’. The dressing room tunnel was also adapted and modernised.

The increasing administrative work of C.A. Osasuna meant the construction of three new offices and a meeting room. On 14 May 2003, some rooms were inaugurated so the Federation of Osasunist Fan Clubs could work independently and comfortably.

The culmination of a modern stadium came in the summer of 2003. The stadium's seatings were completely modified. With this major construction, the lower part of the stadium was raised almost two metres from the field, providing new seats so that spectators were more comfortable and enjoyed better visibility. The width of the sides and backdrops were extended with this construction and the old benches were replaced by new, modern ones. The separation fences with the grandstand were also eliminated. Two new video scoreboards on both backdrops of the stadium completed the new inside image of the stadium. That same summer, the new headquarters of the Osasuna Foundation, currently located at the back of ‘El Sadar’, were also inaugurated. In 2017 the two video scoreboards, with a surface of 30 square meters, were replaced by two modern ones that counted 45 square meters each.

 

The big refurbishment

The stadium turned 50 years old in September 2017. Soon after, the biggest remodelling that the red stadium has undergone in its history was beginning to take shape. In July 2018, the president of the entity, Luis Sabalza, announced a tendering process to reform and expand ‘El Sadar’. The stadium had gradually aged and the recent crisis the club had faced had prevented it from investing sufficiently in the facilities. The capacity, after adapting the stadium to the different safety standards, had already been reduced to about 18,500 spectators. This circumstance implied that Osasuna could only attend renovations of people that were already members, without considering making new ones. Moreover, ‘El Sadar’ no longer met the basic standards in the event of evacuation, nor did it meet the requirements of La Liga regarding television broadcasting. Therefore, the Board of Directors decided to undertake a reform project that would also increase the capacity to about 25,000 seats.

The club issued specifications and designed a unique process in the world of football. Architectural firms could submit their ideas for the stadium renovation, which was limited to a maximum of 16 million euros plus VAT. Finally, five projects were presented. The five were displayed in October 2018 at the University of Navarra Museum, in a ceremony attended by the Board of Directors, staff, club employees, veterans and members. After some time in which members were able to obtain more details about each of the projects, all members of the entity over the age of 18 were called to the polls. Just over 11,000 could, reaching the highest mobilization rate in the club's history with a 75% turnout and over 8,400 votes. For the first time in the history of the club, members were able to vote in person and online.

Club members had to choose between a basic reform with a lower cost and no enlargement, an option chosen by 7.6% of the members, or a more ambitious reform with a larger capacity, a winning option with 90.3% of the votes. Among the five projects presented, ‘Muro Rojo’ (Red Wall), by OFS Architects and the construction company VDR, was the winner with 45.3% of the votes.

In June 2019, the remodelling works began. All rooms on the ground floor were demolished and new, larger dressing rooms were built for the teams and referees, as well as a new anti-doping room. The local dressing room now has a second floor ready for activation exercises. The meeting area between the two changing rooms was extended and the mixed area was also enlarged. On the first floor, new offices were built for the Commercial Department and the Communication Department, as well as a meeting room. The refurbishment also included the press room, the VIP box and the media booths. Desks were also built in the High Tribune to accommodate the media in the matches of maximum expectation. The two existing lifts were renovated, the boxes dedicated for companies were completely redone, bringing them closer to the pitch, and the bathrooms were full refurbished for the public. The most important work consisted of providing the High Tribune with an independent staircase access and widening the vomitories. The seats in the entire Preference area were completely renovated.

At the end of October 2019, the second phase of the renovation began with the foundation work for the new upper ring of seats, which will increase the capacity of the stadium to 24,400 spectators.


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