To the surprise of many, the stadium holding the greatest capacity of seated spectators in the world is not Camp Nou, Maracana or the Azteca stadium. Moreover, it’s not even found in Europe or in America. That’s right, the stadium with the highest capacity in the world is the Rungrado May Day Stadium. Built in North Korea, an Asian country with little football tradition (if any).
Rungrado May Day Stadium
With a capacity for 150,000 spectators (seated), this gigantic structure is the stadium with the greatest capacity in the world. It’s the main venue for the North Korean national football team. Located in Pyongyang city, North Korea. Especifically, it’s located on an island called Rungra, in the vicinity of the Taedong River. It was inaugurated on May 1st, 1989.
The construction of this colossus took more than 2 years. And although the political regime of the country hasn’t revealed official estimates on the construction of this stadium, it’s presumed that the government used thousands of workers in more than questionable conditions to build it. This structure isn’t used only for football matches. It has an athletics track and also a sports field, it’s common to see political displays from North Korea’s dictator and inaugurations of many different events take place in its facilities.
This impressive stadium is owned by the Barcelona Soccer Club. Its located in the Les Corts district, Barcelona city, Spain. It was inaugurated on September 24th, 1957. Under the name of Stadium of FC Barcelona. However, this changed in 2001 when the club modified its original designation for Camp Nou as it’s known today. Camp Nou is cataloged by UEFA with the “highest distinction”, as it’s the stadium with the highest capacity in Europe and is the second football stadium with the greatest capacity in the world, with a current capacity of 99,354 spectators.
The capacity of the stadium has varied since its inauguration when it had 93,053 seats. For the FIFA World Cup in Spain in 1982, they remodeled it and reached up to 120,000 spectators. Then in 1994, its capacity was reduced to 99,354 spectators (its current capacity), after the application of the regulations that forced the elimination of seats without proper chairs.
The largest stadium in Africa. In the mid-’80s, several club leaders of South African Football Federation joined forces to build the first international football stadium in the country. This construction was supported by the football fraternity. Soccer City was inaugurated in 1987 with a capacity for 78,000 spectators.
Subsequently, some sections were demolished and remodeled to increase the capacity of the stadium to its current capacity of 94,713 spectators. These renovations were made within the framework of the FIFA World Cup that was held in South Africa in 2010. Soccer City is also known as the FNB Stadium (due to its sponsor, First National Bank). It has been the scene of several important events in the football and human field. Nelson Mandela’s first speech after its liberation in 1990 was held there, the final of the African Cup of Nations of 1996, the opening ceremony of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the final match between Holland and Spain.