Estadio Alberto J. ArmandoEdit profile
The Estadio Alberto J. Armando (formerly the Estadio Camilo Cichero) is a stadium located in the La Boca district of Buenos Aires. Widely known as La Bombonera (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).
Three sides of the Bombonera are made up of traditional stands. However, the fourth side had to be built vertically, with several seating areas stacked one on top of the other, to stay within the stadium's property. La Bombonera is renowned for vibrating when fans start to jump in rhythm. In particular, the unique vertical side will sway slightly, leading to the phrase " La Bombonera doesn't shake: it beats (like a heart)." (Spanish: La Bombonera no tiembla. Late)
The pitch at La Bombonera is the minimum length required under FIFA regulations - 105m x 68m.
As well as being the home of Boca Juniors the stadium is also used as a concert venue, with the likes of Lenny Kravitz, Elton John, James Blunt, Bee Gees, Backstreet Boys and Cast having performed there.
Work began on constructing the stadium on 18 February 1938, and Boca played their home matches at the Ferro Carril Oeste Stadium until the new stadium was built. The stadium finally opened on 25 May 1940 with a friendly match between Boca and San Lorenzo, which the home side won 2-0 with both goals score by Ricardo Alarcón. The stadium, which was originally named Estadio Camilo Cichero, after then club president, Camil Cichero, had two tiers, and in 1949 the club decided to add a third tier, which was completed in 1953, giving the stadium its nickname La Bombonera.
Floodlights were installed in 1952, so that games could be played in the evenings and thus allowing the stadium to host international matches.
The side opposite the Casa Amarilla railway platforms remained mostly unbuilt until the 1990s, when it was upgraded with new balconies and executive boxes, when between 1995 and 1996 the stadium underwent a major renovation, under Mauricio Macri’s presidency in order to raise its capacity from 49,000 to 57,395. The old Executive boxes on Del Valle Iberlucea Street were demolished and replaced by a small tier over which the current executive boxes were built.
The stadium was officially renamed Estadio Alberto J. Armando on 27 December 2000. The name was chosen in honor of Alberto Armando, a former club president who had promised a major renovation of La Bombonera after his election in 1975, but whose plans were delayed by the country's political and economic situation at the time.
Only four Brazilian football clubs have beaten Boca Juniors at the Estadio Alberto J. Armando in competitive matches: Santos, Cruzeiro, Paysandu and most recently Internacional who beat Boca 2-1 at the stadium in the quarter-final, second leg of the Copa Sudamericana 2008 on 6 November 2008. While Grêmio won a friendly match in the 1960s.
La Bombonera today
La Bombonera currently has a capacity of around 49,000 and the club's popularity make tickets hard to find, especially for the Superclásico derby against River Plate.
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. The black and white Coca-Cola advertisement banners that hang in the stadium are among the few worldwide not to use Coca Cola's trademark red, as Boca's arch rivals River Plate play in red and white.
Diego Maradona, who played for and supports Boca Juniors, has his own executive box at the stadium.
On 1 August 2001 Boca took on a commitment to provide an improved service at all events held at the stadium, be they sports matches or shows. The aim was to implement a Quality management system which would enable the stadium's owners to achieve a higher standard of excellence. The quality certification ISO9001:2000 was attained, which was awarded by Bureau Veritas Quality International (BVQI) in 2001. Re-certification was achieved in a BVQI audit on 20 March 2007
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 an 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.
La Bombonera in popular culture
Because the lack of licensing, the name of the stadium in the videogame Pro Evolution Soccer is "Estadio Grand Chaco". The stadium was featured in the 2001 satirical comedy film, Mike Bassett: England Manager as a stadium in Brazil in which England loses 4-0 to Mexico in the World Cup.