Uruguay may demolish the historic Centenario stadium as part of its bid to host the 2030 World Cup.
The country’s sports secretary Fernando Caceres told The Associated Press on Thursday that six different projects were being considered, from remodeling the venue to knocking it down and building a new one.
The Centenario was built in 1930 to host the first World Cup. Uruguay is bidding with Argentina and Paraguay to stage the 2030 edition.
In all six projects the existing 100-meter tower would be maintained, as a tribute to Uruguayan teams that won the gold medals at the 1924 and 1928 Olympics.
Caceres said the Centenario “cannot resist any longer because its maintenance is very costly and is not adapted to modern sporting entertainment.”
He did, however, say that demolishing the stadium would shock Uruguayans because of its symbolic value.
“Of course, people care. I also felt a great initial resistance when I heard the proposals but which construction work has not created initial resistance in this country?,” Caceres said.
The Centenario was built in six months and Uruguay went on to become the first world champion by beating Argentina 4-2 in the final.
The stadium hosts Uruguay matches and also games for the two biggest clubs in the country, Penarol and Nacional. Those two teams, however, don’t play there so often these days.
Caceres said up to $300 million could be invested for a new Centenario and a decision on a new project could be made within four months.
Many Uruguayans promise to resist. William Rey, a specialist on national heritage, is one.
“The Centenario stadium is important for Uruguay and for the world,” he said. “FIFA considers it to be a tribute to football. We almost don’t have stadia from those days and we have a golden piece here.”unb