|Estadio Alberto J. Armando|
|Full name||Estadio Alberto J. Armando|
|Former names||Estadio Boca Juniors (1940-1986)
Estadio Camilo Cichero (1986–2000)
|Location||Brandsen 805 CP 1161
La Boca, Buenos Aires
|Broke ground||February 18, 1938|
|Opened||May 25, 1940|
|Architect||José Luis Delpini, Viktor Sulčič, Raúl Bes|
|Field dimensions||105 x 68 m|
The Estadio Alberto J. Armando (formerly the Estadio Camilo Cichero) is a stadium located in La Boca district of Buenos Aires. Widely known as La Bombonera (Spanish pronunciation: [la βomboˈneɾa]; English: the Chocolate Box) due to its shape, with a "flat" stand on one side of the pitch and three steep stands round the rest of the stadium. It has a capacity of 49,000.
The stadium is owned by Boca Juniors, one of Argentina's most famous football clubs. The unusual shape of the stadium has led to it having excellent acoustics and the Boca support being nicknamed "La Doce" (The 12th man).
The pitch at La Bombonera is the minimum size required under FIFA regulations - 105m x 68m.
The stadium, as well as being the home of Boca Juniors, is also used as a concert venue. Past performers at La Bombonera have included Lenny Kravitz, Sir Elton John, James Blunt, Bee Gees, the Backstreet Boys, and Cast having performed there.
Construction began on the stadium on February 18, 1938, and Boca played their home matches at the Ferro Carril Oeste Stadium until the new stadium was built. The stadium finally opened on May 25, 1940, with a friendly match between Boca and San Lorenzo, which the home side won 2-0 with both goals scored by Ricardo Alarcón. The stadium originally had two tiers, and in 1949 the club decided to add a third tier, which was completed in 1953; this third tier gave the stadium its enduring nickname: La Bombonera.
The stadium was named on April 20, 1986, by team President Antonio Alegre in honor of Camilo Cichero, a former team president under whose tenure work on La Bombonera began. It was renamed on December 27, 2000, by team President Mauricio Macri in honor of Alberto Armando, team president during its resurgence during the 1960s as well as a former business partner of his father Francisco Macri. The stadium was expanded and modernized during Macri's tenure, notably with the addition in 1996 of a fourth tier; and a wing housing a press area, VIP boxes, a museum, and offices. The stadium's exterior was later decorated with works by painters Rómulo Macció and Pérez Celis.
Out of its capacity of 49,000, there are 37,538 seats, 2780 are boxes and 8,682 standing. Both its interior and exterior are lined with a number of murals painted by the artist Pérez Celis depicting many of the club's legendary players and aspects of the district's culture, such as the life of Italian immigrants.
In 1996 a small stand was built on the 4th side, which had been largely open until then, except for some VIP boxes.
There are three parking lots at the stadium for members.
There are planned improvements for the stadium, including measures to ease crowd congestion, use of new technology in the stadium and improved corporate facilities. These include:
- Main gate, museum and megastore: Work is planned to be done on the main access to the stadium at 805 Brandsen which will include the construction of a megastore, and to then connect the main access with the store and the club's museum.
- Third tier:Remodelling work to install further seating and improve spectator comfort.
- Stadium gates: Building work to improve access and prevent crowd congestion is underway. The first phase focuses on improving access to the executive boxes and premium seats. In addition, new software and hardware will improve access control with regard to safety and quickness to prevent crowd congestion.
- Creation of a corporate area: Businesses will have an area in the stadium with VIP service. One section in the second tier, is being re-designed with two executive boxes and more comfortable seating. The service will also provide businesses with season tickets to allow them to invite clients. It also includes transportation, museum visits and catering services.
The Passion of Boca Juniors Museum (Spanish: Museo de la Pasión Boquense) was opened by Mauricio Macri, and is located within the stadium. It is on two floors and chronicles the club's rise from 1905 to the present day. One of the exhibits in the museum is a giant football with 360-degree footage of the club's fans and players at a match. The museum also includes a Hall of fame and a large mural of Diego Maradona. Also included are non-football items such as the specially commissioned blue and gold guitar played by Lenny Kravitz when he performed at La Bombonera in 2005.
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