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Ruling paves way for San Siro demolition

Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, the home of Italian Serie A football clubs AC Milan and Inter Milan more famously known as the San Siro, can be demolished after the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities (MiBAC) ruled that the facility does not present any “cultural interest”.

The MiBAC ruling, through the regional commission for the cultural heritage of Lombardy, came after a request from the Municipality of Milan in November, with city representatives, including Mayor Giuseppe Sala, having repeatedly questioned the clubs’ intention to tear down the San Siro.

The decision is said to remove a major stumbling block from the clubs’ plans that would see some of the current San Siro retained as part of a multi-purpose complex alongside a new 60,000-seat stadium.

The Municipality had been seeking to determine whether the San Siro had an architectural value, before potentially giving final approval to the new project. MiBAC has ruled that the stadium should not be granted protected status as following several redevelopments only a small element of the oldest part of the stadium, opened in 1926, is left in place.

According to Italian newspaper La Repubblica, the ruling reads: “It is, at present, an architectural artefact in which the original stadium of 1925-26 and the expansion of 1937-39 are completely residual with respect to subsequent adjustments made in the second half of the 20th century and therefore not subject to the ‘heritage protection’ provisions, since they do not date back over 70 years.”

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.

Certain parts of the San Siro will be retained as a historical symbol of the iconic venue. La Repubblica states the ruling paves the way for a final agreement between the two clubs and the Municipality for the multi-purpose complex. It added that this agreement could be announced in a matter of days.

Earlier this month, AC Milan and Inter Milan unveiled fresh details on two proposals to create the new stadium and sports and entertainment district. The clubs have submitted a preparatory document for the feasibility project to the Municipality of Milan. It follows constructive dialogue between the clubs and the Municipality in accordance with the 16 conditions provided by the Municipality and the City Council in November.

In January, the clubs presented new plans for the future of the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, outlining how the venue would be transformed into a destination for sports and entertainment events. The clubs had previously said they were prepared to work on alternative proposals for the San Siro but maintained their discomfort at retaining the stadium as a venue for professional sports if a new facility is developed.

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

The new concepts designed by Populous and Manica/Sportium provide for the retention of a part of the current San Siro within a new retail and sports district that could be used all year. The district would include about 106,000 square metres of green space and feature retail, sports, cultural and leisure activities, including a running track, cycle path, outdoor gym, skateboard park, five-a-side football pitch and sports museum.

Image: San Siro Stadium