The Estadio José Amalfitani (in English: José Amalfitani stadium) is a stadium located in the Liniers neighbourhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The venue is mainly used for football matches and is the home of the Argentine Primera División club Vélez Sársfield. The stadium is nicknamed El Fortín (in English: "The Small Fort") or El Fortín de Liniers ("The Small Fort of Liniers"). Alternatively, it is also called Vélez Sarsfield Stadium.

The stadium was built between 1941 and 1943 in wood, and rebuild in cement between 1947 and 1951. 27 years later, it was expanded in preparation for the 1978 FIFA World Cup. The José Amalfitani has capacity for 49,540 spectators, although it does not provide seating for all of them like most Argentine stadiums.

The Estadio José Amalfitani is also the national stadium for the Argentine rugby union national team (a.k.a. Los Pumas). Although the team plays test matches throughout the country, their highest-profile tests are usually held here.

Foundation and early remodelling

Before buying the terrain to build the stadium, Vélez Sársfield played their home matches in a rented ground on the Villa Luro neighbourhood. The original ground was the one that earned the nickname El Fortín in 1932, for the team's strength playing at home.

After suffering relegation from the Argentine Primera División in 1940, Vélez was sacked from the Villa Luro ground they were renting. Three years later, in 1941, the club obtained the terrain of the current stadium, property of the Buenos Aires Western Railway. The ground was a swamp of the Maldonado Stream, where construction was difficult. However, the club's president José Amalfitani led the construction, which was terminated in 1943. The new stadium used the same wood stands from the old Villa Luro stadium, and was inaugurated in a 2–2 draw with River Plate. Vélez striker Juan José Ferraro scored the first goal in the stadium's history (the others were scored by Ángel Fernández for Vélez and Adolfo Pedernera twice for River).

In 1947, the club started to rebuild the stadium in cement, finishing the construction in 1951. On April 22 of that year, Vélez re inaugurated the stadium in a 2–0 win over Huracán (goals by Raúl Nápoli).

On December 6, 1968, the club inaugurated the new lighting system in a 2–2 draw against Pelé's Santos.

1978 World Cup

In 1976, the military junta led by Lieutenant General Jorge Rafael Videla, who had taken power in a coup, established the Autarkic Entity World Cup '78, which was responsible for the refurbishment of the stadiums designated to host the 1978 FIFA World Cup. The Estadio José Amalfitani was remodeled, according to the requirements of FIFA, to be the secondary venue of Buenos Aires (behind River's Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti).

The José Amalfitani hosted three matches of the 1978 World Cup and seven matches, including the final, of the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship.

Notable events

Queen performed 3 shows during the "South America Bites the Dust" leg of The Game Tour in 1981. Diego Maradona went on stage with the band, shortly before "Another One Bites the Dust".

Iron Maiden performed the sold out venue in 1998, 2001, 2004, 2009, 2011. Last time (2011) show was recorded live for further DVD release.

Pope John Paul II celebrated a Mass at the stadium on April 10, 1987.

Depeche Mode performed at the stadium on April 4, 1994 during their The Exotic Tour.

Linkin Park performed at the stadium on October 7, 2010 during their A Thousand Suns World Tour.


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