Milan giants to assess alternative options for San Siro

AC Milan and Inter Milan have said they are prepared to work on alternative proposals for the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, but have maintained their discomfort at retaining the stadium better known as the San Siro as a venue for professional sporting events once a new facility is developed.

The long-term future of the San Siro has been the source of differing opinions between the two Serie A football clubs and local authorities amid efforts to deliver a new stadium. The issue was on the agenda again yesterday (Tuesday) as Milan and Inter met with city council officials for an update on the redevelopment project for the San Siro area and the construction of a new stadium.

Plans for a new stadium were given a “conditional yes” from the city council in October, with assurances needed on regeneration plans for the San Siro before the proposal is given the all-clear. In September the two clubs announced that Populous and Manica/Sportium had been shortlisted to design a new 60,000-seat stadium that they would share.

Inter and AC Milan had planned on building the wide-ranging stadium and entertainment complex on the site on which the San Siro currently sits but the council is keen that the current stadium should not be demolished. Indeed, Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala has maintained that he would like the San Siro to remain in place for the city’s staging of the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo in June defeated a rival joint bid from Stockholm-Åre to land the 2026 Games and the San Siro has been pinpointed to host the opening ceremony.

In a joint statement released following yesterday’s meeting, Milan and Inter said discussions had centred on the feasibility of a proposal put forward from the municipal administration earlier this month that a potentially downsized San Siro be retained for professional sporting events, adjacent to the new stadium.

Inter’s corporate CEO, Alessandro Antonello, and Milan president, Paolo Scaroni, presented a summary of a study prepared by the technical consultants already involved in the preparation of the feasibility study for a new stadium.

Regarding retaining the San Siro as a venue for pro sports events, Milan and Inter said: “This study demonstrated the non-sustainability of the coexistence of the two stadia due to the criticalities generated by acoustics, road impacts, flow management and safety, limiting accessibility for residents and significantly compromising the quality of the experience for the spectators.

“Moreover, the coexistence of two stadia would generate a doubtful impact on the landscape, in addition to a situation of strong building densification… and an objective difficulty in realising a redevelopment of the San Siro area, for the benefit of citizens.”

The two clubs said they have now been asked to formulate an alternative redevelopment plan for the San Siro, which would include non-professional sports events and envision a “change in the size of the stadium”. They added: “The clubs have positively evaluated the meeting and agreed to work on verifying this hypothesis.”

The San Siro first opened in 1926 and has undergone several renovations, most notably for Italy’s staging of the 1990 FIFA World Cup. AC Milan has called the stadium home since it opened, while Inter started using the San Siro in 1947.

The Reuters news agency said alternative options for the stadium could include demolishing most of the San Siro, retaining only part of its current stands as a city landmark. It added that Goldman Sachs is ready to bankroll the clubs’ €1.2bn (£1.02bn/$1.34bn) new stadium project.

The San Siro is owned by the City of Milan and leased to the clubs. Amid the latest developments in the affair, Sala has said that local authorities are seeking to protect their interests. He added, according to local newspaper Il Giorno: “We are not against progress, the future or a new stadium, but we must protect our interests, which among other things is also historical because 100 years of history cannot be erased in an instant.”

Image: Inter Milan