He Eduardo Santos Montejo stadium in Santa Marta, witness of the sole title of the Union Magdalena in 1968 and cradle of great soccer glories, remains among the deterioration and the abandonmentso much so, that it has already completely lost the grass that until recently was at least used for training and matches of some teams.
With the appearance of a forest on the inside and a garbage dump and open-air hotel on the outside, the mythical setting continues to be a reason for controversy and of uncertainty in the face of the notable and advanced detriment that has consumed it for several years. Currently, the stadium doors remain closed and the place is guarded by the National Police.
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Photo: street dwellers at the ‘Pibe’ statue.
While the Governor of Magdalena Carlos Caicedo insists on his idea of demolition by Eduardo Santos of Santa Marta to convert it into a sports arena and of eventsthe former deputy director of Coldeportes Nacional, Luis Alberto ‘Beto’ Riascos is categorically opposed to such an initiative and assures that it is impossible because the stadium is under the protection of the Law 1888 of 2018 who declared it as “Cultural and Sports Heritage of the Nation”. Riascos adds that the restoration project is already within the Development Plan of the Government of President Gustavo Petro.
Recently, Governor Caicedo said on social networks that: “Also, we will hand over the Eduardo Santos stadium to be a sports and event arena.”. She made this statement when she announced that she would present to the Assembly the transfer of the old Rumbódromo or ‘Parque Taykú’ so that the main headquarters of the District University could be built there.
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And the departmental leader has been reviving this intention and recently held a meeting with the Departmental Heritage Council, to obtain a controversial certification with which it seeks to advance its demolition proposal. However, ‘Beto’ Riascos expressed in an interview with THE REPORTER that it is difficult for this purpose to prosper because “the Society of Architects, the Bolivarian Society, Culture, among other members of the 12 members of the Departmental Council refused to sign the document.”
“A few days ago the governor came with his Secretary of Culture and they convened the Departmental Heritage Council and gave a certification regarding practically ignoring the law. How do you think you can revive the demolition of the stadium with this certification? Yes, that is protected by law, and the only thing that is above the law is the Constitution. Therefore, under no circumstances can the stadium be demolished. From his administration they leaked the news and I have the documents. I dare you to try to demolish it. We are not going to allow it because it is under the protection of Law 1888 of 2018. We are one step away from promoting the restoration of the Eduardo Santos. “I have an appointment with the Ministry of Sports soon,” he stated.Beto’ Riascos in dialogue with EL INFORMADOR.
Álvaro Ospino Valiente, president of the Magdalena Academy of History and member of the Heritage Council, told to THE REPORTER that the Eduardo Santos has a level of protection established in the law that prevents the building from being demolished. He assured that the next step is elevate it to an asset of cultural interest at the national level so that it appears on the corresponding list, through the National Council of Cultural Heritage.
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“In this building the memory of the history of football in Santa Marta and Magdalena. There, football figures such as the Arango brothers, the Palacios, Valderrama, among other sporting glories, were trained and developed their professional activity. If we erase the memory of Eduardo Santos, we are starting from scratch, it is even a process that will take years to consolidate the Sierra Nevada stadium -which is a complete failure– and it’s going to be a recoil complete,” added the architect and historian Ospino Valiente.
A light at the end of the tunnel
Luis Alberto ‘Beto’ Riascos, leader of the initiative that was presented to the Congress by the representative to the House, Jaime Serrano and that it was voted unanimously so that the National Government sanctioned Law 1888 that declared the Eduardo Santos Montejo stadium as Sports and Cultural Heritage of the Nationtold EL INFORMADOR that he will soon meet with the Ministry of Sports in Bogotá to seek progress in the stage restoration project.
Photo: Trees appeared on what used to be the playing field, which is now completely lost and has been used as a parking lot.
In the page 390 of the 795 contained in the Multiannual Investment Plan of the National Development Plan (PND) 2022-2026, Colombia World Power of Life of President Gustavo Petro, there is the project of “Detailed engineering design for the restoration, provision and adaptation of the Eduardo Santos stadium in Santa Marta”. Riascos says that he knocked on doors at the national level and that together with Congressman Hernando Guida he managed to get the work included in the plan.
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“Dad the nation undertakes the commitment to carry out the restoration of the Eduardo Santos. The Sierra Nevada stadium falls first than the Eduardo Santos stadium, because in the old days they built well. It is true that it is deteriorated, but it can be restored. The pathology study he did Carlos Caicedo It is the one I am using where it says that the stadium does not endure demolition but rather restoration and repowering of its structures. I forced myself to write a book about the true history of Eduardo Santos that I plan to present to the Ministry of Culture so that they accept that You can demolish the patchwork quilt, which is the South, North, and Sun stands. (built in 1948), and only what is heritage will be preserved, which is that of Sombra“, ‘Beto’ Riascos told EL INFORMADOR.
How will Eduardo Santos look?
It will be a Fifa stadium in which national and international matches can be played and will have a capacity for 35,000 or 36,000 spectators. The remodeled Eduardo Santos will have a shopping center around it that will have a museo for the glories of Samaria football. Likewise, it will have a Hall of Remembrance which will be attended by the same local glories and where on 15 televisions visitors will be able to watch any match edited at 25 or 30 minutes and the goals of the best soccer players in Colombia and the world, such as Pelé, Maradona, Messi, Falcao, Cristiano, among others.
Recognition for Carlos Vives and Falcao García
It will be the only stage in the country with a triple function, also the only one in the world with 4 large bronze monuments by Radamel Falcao García, Alfredo Arango and Carlos Vives, that will keep company with the existing statue of Carlos ‘El Pibe’ Valderramawhich has become the most visited sculpture by locals and tourists.
“In addition, we are going to take advantage of the location privileged that is heart of Santa Marta. Taking advantage of the voids left in the stands, a shopping center is going to be set up in which there will be Museum of GloriesAs in La Bombonera, there will be a souvenir room. It will have a five-star hotel so that the visiting teams can stay directly in that sector. This is built for football, but the infrastructure will also be used for commercial premises, which makes it self-sustainable because the resources they pay will be used to maintain the stadium, but it will also be used as an event arena where people will be able to watch in concerts to your favorite national and international artists for affordable prices. We deserve it. We are the oldest city in Colombia, soon to turn 500 years old,” he reported. Luis Alberto Riascos.
Likewise, it will have several warehouses sports, handicrafts, auditoriums for culture and sports, cafeterias, ice cream parlors, restaurants, ATMs, offices for departmental leagues, and a biomedical department that will be managed by the University of Magdalena and will have sports doctors, psychologists, nutritionists, physiotherapists, all specialized in areas of sport. “In short, this center will place applied sciences at the service of sports and will serve to create a true sports industry and will provide its service to the entire Caribbean region. The income produced by this scenario will be sufficient to do so. autosostenible”concluded ‘Beto’ Riascos.
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If the restoration project of the Eduardo Santos stadium is completed, it would be one of the most important works for the celebration of the 500 years of Santa Marta, anniversary that falls on July 29, 2025. What will happen in these two years? It will dawn and we will see.