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Design & Development

AC Milan ‘set to abandon’ stadium project with Inter

Rendering for the Nuovo Stadio Milano project

Featured image credit: Populous

Rendering for the Nuovo Stadio Milano project

Featured image credit: Populous

AC Milan has elected to split from city rival Inter Milan and pursue its own stadium project, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

The newspaper has today (Friday) reported that Milan, under its new US ownership group RedBird Capital Partners, is set to make a decisive move when it comes to the troubled Nuovo Stadio Milano project it has pursued with its fellow Serie A football club.

The ongoing delays concerning the venture to develop a new stadium on the same plot of land occupied by the two clubs’ current home, Stadio Giuseppe Meazza or San Siro, along with the uncertainty surrounding Inter’s ownership situation is said to have led Milan down this path.

Three alternative sites have been identified by Gazzetta as potential homes for a dedicated stadium for Milan. One of these is Sesto San Giovanni, a commune located to the north of Milan that has long been identified as a ‘plan B’ alternative location for a new stadium.

San Donato, a commune southeast of Milan, has also been touted, along with La Maura, an area closer to the Meazza which is currently home to equestrian and horse racing facilities. Gerry Cardinale, RedBird founder and managing partner, is said to have been convinced of the need for a change in approach after his last visit to the Meazza. That was for Milan’s 1-0 UEFA Champions League win over Tottenham Hotspur on February 14 – a match that generated record revenue of over €9.1m (£8.02m/$9.64m).

In August, RedBird formally concluded its takeover of Milan touting its “track record” in sports stadium developments, with Yankee Global Enterprises (YGE) coming in as a new minority owner.

RedBird’s takeover of Milan was initially announced in June, with the club changing hands between American owners. The deal with US investment management group Elliott Management valued the reigning Serie A champion at €1.2bn.

The Municipality of Milan last month called on Milan and Inter to make key amendments to their new stadium proposal, along with exploring the potential for the Meazza to be granted protected status.

Following a public debate process that ran last year, some of the suggestions that were put forward, and were voted on by the City Council in December, were officially incorporated. Milan and Inter have been asked to update their feasibility study to incorporate a number of requests.

These revolve around five key proposals. Firstly, that the capacity of the new stadium be increased from the currently proposed 60,000-65,000 to “70,000 seats as the optimal objective”. A major concern regarding the new stadium proposal has been how its smaller capacity, versus the circa 80,000 of the Meazza, would impact on ticket prices. An increase has been proposed to ensure that the new venue offers at least the same percentage of affordable tickets as the Meazza currently does.

To ensure the implementation of further works of public purpose or of general interest, the Municipality has indicated among the priorities the identification of additional economic resources, so as to be able to allocate a share of at least €40m for regeneration projects to be implemented in the neighbouring districts.

The proposal has been called upon to increase the green area, so that it represents at least 50% of the total footprint, up from the current 18%, to “give priority to achieving carbon neutrality and minimising environmental impact”, and comply with the Air and Climate Plan of the Municipality. 

The new stadium will also need to be moved further away from nearby residential buildings, with the provision of solutions to mitigate the noise impact.

The Meazza had been expected to be partially demolished after holding the opening ceremony of the 2026 Winter Olympic Games, the year in which it will mark its centenary, and converted as part of the wider sports and entertainment district vision for the site.

However, it was revealed last year that this plan had changed with the Meazza now set to be demolished completely when Milan and Inter move into their new home, in order to better accommodate the sports and entertainment district, which will include a public park.

The debate process allowed the presentation and emergence of proposals connected to stakeholders who have been seeking to ensure the Meazza remains. The Municipality said last month: “Following the resolution just approved, the administration will ask the competent bodies about the possibility that the Meazza be brought back to the category of restricted public sites.”

In November, the Municipality was presented with a 64-page report on the proposed new stadium that was the result of a public consultation that organisers stated had been one of the most followed in Italian history.

Public debate commenced on the Stadio Milano project on September 28, with a fresh look provided at the design proposals and original plans to retain some part of the Meazza being scrapped. The whole process was previewed at a presentation, during which fresh renderings were revealed that displayed some differences from the original plans.

In December 2021, Populous saw off competition from Manica/Sportium to land the contract to design the new stadium. Populous’ project, dubbed ‘The Cathedral’, was selected, with the coming weeks having promised the finalisation of the objectives and development process of Milan’s new stadium.