Box owners at Mexico’s Azteca Stadium refuse to release seats for 2026 World Cup

Roberto Ruano, a box owner at Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium, is adamant about retaining his luxury box privileges during the 2026 World Cup. These privileges, established six decades ago, grant box owners unlimited access to their seats for 99 years. Ruano, the spokesman for an association of 134 box owners, insists that this deal is non-negotiable, as they have already paid for the right to be there.

However, FIFA’s desire for full control over World Cup stadiums presents a challenge. While FIFA aims to take control of the stadium 30 days before the first match and seven days after the last, the unique history of the Azteca Stadium’s box ownership complicates matters. Boxes were sold to private investors to finance the stadium’s construction, granting them access to events for 99 years, including past World Cups.

The Azteca boxes are highly coveted, with current prices ranging from 15 million to 25 million pesos. Some owners rent them out for specific events. Ruano, whose father acquired their box’s title, is hopeful for a resolution after recent discussions with stadium officials.

Emilio Azcarraga Jean, the stadium owner, expresses willingness to reach an agreement, acknowledging the importance of resolving the issue. FIFA states it is collaborating with host cities for the 2026 World Cup, including discussions on remodeling plans for the historic Azteca Stadium.

While specific details of the remodeling plans remain unclear, Ruano notes that some box owners have agreed to release their seats for the tournament in exchange for upgrades and benefits. However, Ruano insists on retaining his rights, likening it to being forced out of his own home.

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