Bigger than Camp Nou - Guangzhou starts work on 100,000-capacity stadium

Chinese champions Guangzhou Evergrande on Thursday began building a new stadium costing 12 billion yuan ($1.7 billion) and boasting a 100,000 capacity -- one of the world's largest arenas.

The stadium, which will be marginally bigger than Barcelona's famous Camp Nou, is scheduled to be ready by the end of 2022, Xinhua news agency said.

Guangzhou Evergrande Football Stadium will have an eye-catching lotus flower design wrapped around it, a nod to the southern city's status as China's "Flower City".

The stadium will be, for a time at least, the world's largest football venue, until the Camp Nou expands to 105,000 seats after its ongoing redevelopment.

Eight-time Chinese champions Guangzhou, who are coached by Italian World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro and have won the AFC Champions League twice, average about 50,000 fans for home matches.

China's government is making an aggressive push to promote football in the country and several major new stadiums are being built around the nation.

Evergrande's Chinese Super League rivals Shanghai SIPG are constructing a new arena that will seat 33,000 and is expected to be finished in 2021.

China will host the newly expanded 2021 FIFA Club World Cup and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, while Shanghai is interested in holding the Olympics.

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