San Siro

Capacity75 000
Country Italy
ClubsInter, AC Milan
CategoryDesign awaiting implementation
Cost€300 M
Design Arco Associati


San Siro – design description

What does San Siro look like?

Milan's San Siro stadium, where the city's two famous clubs, AC Milan and Inter, play their matches, has been in existence since 1926. Following its last major expansion before the 1990 World Cup, the venue is the largest stadium in Italy and its distinctive features make it one of the most emblematic and recognisable football grounds in the world.

Will Inter and AC Milan move out of San Siro?

The possibility of the title-winning clubs moving out to a new venue has been discussed for some time. AC Milan have led the way, but Inter have also considered various options. When Milan's initial ideas didn't pan out, the clubs started working on plans for a new stadium that they would use together, much like San Siro.

In 2019, two concepts for a new stadium were created by renowned studios, Populous as well as Manica and Progetto CMR. At the end of 2021, it was decided to choose Populous' vision. The new facility was to be built right next to San Siro, which was then planned to be demolished. The design, named 'Cathedral', was to refer to Milan's historic architecture.

From the beginning of 2023, there were increasing signs that AC Milan were going to seek to build their own stadium, rather than building it together with Inter. Observing this, Inter also began to seriously consider building their own facility.

Various locations within the metropolitan area began to be considered, with both clubs eventually choosing the southern suburbs: Rozzano (Inter) and San Donato Milanese (AC Milan). Concepts for new stadiums at these locations were shown in autumn 2023, with both stadiums expected to hold 70,000 spectators each. The plans were prepared by Populous and Manica respectively.

How was it decided to persuade Inter and AC Milan to stay at San Siro?

Inter and AC Milan's plans to move out of the city did not sit well with the Milan authorities. At the request of councilor Alessandro De Chirico, local studio Arco Associati (head arch. Giulio Fenyves) prepared, free of charge, a study considering upgrading San Siro as an alternative to building new stadiums in the suburbs. The concept was presented to the City Council on January 31, 2024.

What does San Siro renovation concept prepared by Arco Associati entail?

The concept prepared by Arco Associati involves the creation of a new square next to the stadium, along with two towers that would become the headquarters of Inter and Milan. The biggest change to the stadium itself is to be the creation of a two-storey area with skyboxes to be created between the first and second tier of stands, which would involve the removal of the upper rows of the first tier (those overlapped by the lower rows of the second tier).

The modernisation is also expected to include refreshing and upgrading the entire stadium, including the installation of new, more comfortable seating or the installation of sound-absorbing panels in the roof. The capacity of the venue would remain at a similar level as before (75,000 spectators, of which 5,000 would be in boxes).

How much is the implementation of the Arco Associati concept expected to cost?

The project was estimated to take two years to complete. The work could be carried out in phases and should not, under any circumstances, result in the facility being taken out of service. The estimated investment cost is €300 million, of which €235 million would be spent on the stadium itself.

Various financing options are being considered, either entirely by the local authority, jointly with the clubs, or entirely by the clubs, but with the signing of a long-term lease agreement, which would then enable them to draw all the revenue generated by the renovated San Siro.

What will the modernisation of San Siro achieve?

The modernisation plans have been made primarily to persuade Inter and AC Milan to stay at San Siro. Renovation is certainly a much cheaper solution than building new stadiums, plus the teams would remain where they have played for years and fans would avoid long-distance trips to the suburbs. The creation of a large number of new boxes in the stadium will significantly increase the profit opportunities for the clubs, and the whole upgrade will improve the comfort of all visitors.

In addition to the issues that are important from a business point of view, the renovation will save San Siro, which is an iconic and internationally recognised venue. Many people cannot imagine Inter and AC Milan moving to a new venue for this very reason.

Could San Siro be demolished?

Should the clubs leave San Siro, the local authorities could find it difficult to maintain the facility, which is why there have already been ideas of a possible sale of the stadium. It is protected from demolition by law (in 2025 the second tier of the stands will reach 70 years of age, meaning that only the newest, third (top) tier, including the roof, can be legally demolished), but failure to maintain it properly could lead to ruin.

The impossibility of demolishing the stadium also prevents a possible implementation of the project prepared by Populous to build a new stadium next to it (the 2019 'Cathedral' concept, recently abandoned in favor of plans to build new stadiums in the suburbs), hence the San Siro upgrade also seems the most viable plan to keep the clubs in Milan.

Admittedly, an appeal has been lodged against the decision ruling out the possibility of demolishing San Siro on grounds of cultural value, but its success is highly uncertain. Besides, the San Siro modernisation plan itself may also be in competition with the 'Cathedral' project.

Will the modernisation of the San Siro happen?

On March 8, 2024, there was a meeting between Mayor Giuseppe Sala, club representatives and the CEO of WeBuild to discuss the possibility of upgrading San Siro and abandoning plans to move. After the meeting, nothing seems to be a foregone conclusion, although plans for new stadiums in the suburb previously looked to be well advanced.

By June 2024, the clubs are expected to submit their expectations for the San Siro renovation and WeBuild is expected to prepare a new feasibility study. Once this is done, further information and decisions on the resolution of Milan's stadium dispute can be expected.



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