Chile’s second largest stadium, the Regional Stadium of Concepción, will soon be reconstructed, President Sebastián Piñera announced yesterday. The stadium’s renovation will begin this year. Piñera expressed hope that its renovation would inspire a new generation of Chilean athletes, emphasizing his plan to double the number of athletes in Chile.
The stadium is expected to be complete sometime during 2013. The Regional Stadium of Concepción, located in the capital city of the Bío Bío Region, was first inaugurated in 1962. Deportes Concepción, Arturo Fernández Vial, and the Universidad de Concepción are the main soccer clubs that call the stadium home. Although the stadium has hosted many major soccer tournaments throughout its lifetime, including the 1987 FIFA World Youth Championship and the 1991 Copa America, it has only undergone minor repairs since it was constructed 50 years ago.
“The time has arrived to repay the debt we owe the Bío Bío Region,” President Piñera said. ”We are recovering the history and identity of this region. Because of this, this stadium will become part of the regional culture and part of a series of public works projects on the way.”
Concepción’s new stadium will also be the second largest in the country, as well as the most modern, by the time it is finished.
During the ceremony at which he announced the stadium’s renovations, the president also commented on the importance of athletics in Chilean society. Joined by renowned athletes and ex-football stars from the region, including Mario “Gato” Osbén, Cristián Montecinos and Arturo Sanhueza, the president stated, “We’re fulfilling our commitment to make Chile a country of athletes.” He also called Chile’s current Olympic delegation “the most numerous and powerful in history”.
After discussing the details of Concepción’s newest stadium, which will hold 30,000 people, Piñera also announced his hope that all Chileans, not just elite athletes, will be able to practice sports in the country’s 13-stadium network of professional arenas.
“The goal is to transform Chile into a country of athletes, to double the number of athletes,” the president concluded.