In March 2021, the Rio de Janeiro state legislature voted to change the name of Estádio Jornalista Mário Filho. The stadium is currently named after a journalist who lobbied for its construction in the 1940s. The 78,000-capacity venue might be known as Estádio Edson Arantes do Nascimento – Rei Pelé in the near future. Edson Arantes do Nascimento is the full name of the Brazilian football legend who is widely known as Pelé, while Rei means King in Portuguese. The state governour of Rio de Janeiro must approve the name change before it becomes official. Some football fans say the naming honour should be given to someone from Rio de Janeiro, unlike Pelé who was born in Minas Gerais.
TP Mazembe, a football club from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, will have a new home venue within several years. The construction of the new stadium already started. It will have a capacity of 50,000. The current home of Mazembe, which has a capacity of 18,000, opened in 2011. The Swiss FIFA president Giovanni Infantino has visited the construction site. Infantino said he was impressed with the level of investment into TP Mazembe, the first football club from Africa in a world championship final.
A new stadium is being built in Addis Ababa. The first phase of the construction works is ready. The construction of the Ethiopian venue started in 2016. It will have a roof and an athletics track. The sports venue will be used for home games of the national football team of Ethiopia. It is being built by the China State Construction Engineering Corporation, which became the largest construction company in the world by revenue. The stadium, which will have a capacity of 62,000, will be among the largest African sports venues by capacity.
Football club Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao, one of the major Chinese sports clubs, will have a new home. The club won seven consecutive Chinese top-flight football league titles between 2011 and 2017. They also became the first Chinese football club to participate in the FIFA Club World Cup. The new home of Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao is already being built in the city of Guangzhou. The venue will have a capacity of 100,000, making it one of the largest stadiums in the world when it will be ready. The construction of the football stadium started in April 2020 and it is projected to be ready in 2022. The venue will be among the most expensive stadiums in the world.
The Spanish club Levante UD, one of the former clubs of the world famous Dutch football legend Johan Cruijff, started its stadium renovation this year. The football club did not manage to start its renovation project last year. The COVID-19 outbreak has created an opening which Levante is using to deliver the first phase of its stadium renovation. The first phase of the project will see a completely new canopy based on steel cables and compression ring around the stadium, large television screens, a LED lighting system, a new football field and a new public address system.
The renovation works had to be phased because the stadium had to remain in use. The contractor has agreed to deliver the work in 17 weeks. The COVID-19 pandemic became helpful, despite shaking up the initial schedule. With games being played at empty stadiums once the Spanish top-flight football league resumed, Levante were able to relocate to a small venue for the last six games of the football season. It turned out that playing the first games of the next season away would be necessary. Levante has planned to have the stadium fully covered and operational in October 2020.
The Italian government has suspended all major sports events across the country because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The Serie A, the Italian top-flight football league, is among the most popular sports leagues in the world. The league already faced empty stadiums because of the COVID-19 outbreak and it will be suspended until at least 3 April 2020. Public events have been banned due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which has affected the Italian Republic significantly. It is unclear what will happen with the international fixtures scheduled to take place in the next weeks.
The defending Serie A champions Juventus Football Club are scheduled to host Olympique lyonnais from France in the prestigious UEFA Champions League on 17 March. The game might be suspended. Juventus defeated Internazionale 2-0 in an empty stadium on Sunday. The world famous Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus jokingly applauded the empty stands. It also is unclear what will happen with the European championship for national football teams, which is scheduled to take place in various countries in the summer of 2020. The first match of the tournament is scheduled to take place on 12 June in Rome.
Numerous football matches in several Asian and European countries will be played without spectators because of the COVID-19 outbreak, which started in China. Coronavirus cases have been reported in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania and South America. In January 2020, the first match without an audience because of the COVID-19 outbreak was played in China. The match, which took place in Shanghai, was won by SIPG after defeating Buriram United from Thailand 3-0. Players from both teams were arriving wearing face masks.
The Italian Republic currently is the European country with the most COVID-19 cases. All major Italian sports events will be played without spectators until 3 April 2020. The UEFA Europa League match between the Italian side Internazionale and the Bulgarian side Ludogorets was the first European match which was played without an audience because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The game, which took place in Milan, ended in a 2-1 victory for the home side. Japan, Korea, Poland, the Swiss Confederation and Vietnam also announced to host major sports events without fans to limit the spread of the COVID-19 cases.
Nottingham Forest, the fourth club from the United Kingdom which won the European championship for football clubs, currently play in the second division of the English football league system. The club wants to renovate its current home venue. The project is estimated to cost around £100 million. Nottingham Forest Football Club aim to start the redevelopment of the stadium at the end of this football season. Plans include building a new Peter Taylor Stand and improvements to the other sides. The capacity of the venue is 30,000 and it might be 38,000 in 2021.
The 51,000-capacity DHL Newlands, one of the oldest rugby union stadiums in the world, opened in 1888. It might soon be demolished to make place for residential development. People started a petition to save the venue, which hosted four matches for the Rugby World Cup in 1995. The 55,000-capacity Cape Town Stadium might become the main venue for rugby union in Cape Town. It hosted several matches for the FIFA World Cup, the prestigious world championship for national football teams, in 2010. The stadium, which is currently used mostly for football matches, became a burden on public finances. Hosting more rugby union matches might help.
The English football club Everton have plans to move to a new stadium with a proposed capacity of 52,000. If the plans will be approved in 2020, it will probably take around three years to complete the construction of the venue. The management of Everton Football Club claims that the stadium will provide a huge boost to the economy of Liverpool if it will be built. The 39,000-capacity Goodison Park, the current home of Everton Football Club, will be demolished if the proposed stadium will be built. Everton have been tenants of their current home venue, which is also known as The Grand Old Lady, since 1892.