Harsh statements, threats of legal action or abandoning the project altogether. This is how last few days were in Milan and it all started with a seemingly basic request…
It seemed to be the perfect summer for AC Milan on July 7, when – following years of failed attempts – the club secured a piece of land to build their new stadium. Fiera Foundation decided Milan are the best bidder to redevelop their expo pavilion into a new building, in this case a 48,000-capacity stadium.
And then within just a couple days atmosphere thickened. The spiral of mutual accusations began with a simple request by AC Milan to present geological documentation of the ground beneath the current pavilion. It seems perfectly reasonable as the club need to sink their stadium deep underground (10 meters) in order for it to not obstruct sunlight access to local residents.
“Faced with a big investment, we’re at the stage where we need some insight into the current conditions of the subsurface. It’s one aspect that could have a major significance in defining costs”, said Alfonso Cefaliello of AC Milan’s board. “We believe Fondazione understands our requests.”
Well, apparently Fondazione Fiera didn’t take the request as lightly as expected. In today’s Corriere della Sera president of the foundation expressed very strong emotions regarding Milan’s stance.
“AC Milan, with their letter of July 2, 2015, agreed to cover the full expense with no exceptions,” Benito Benedini said.
“This commitment, along with other caveats that the club is now retracting, were a fundamental condition for the bid.” The prospect of a legal battle between Milan and Fondazione Fiera appears tangible. “Defining this matter will be an issue for our legal departments,” Benedini continued.
Legal battle? This certainly angered AC Milan officials enough to release a very angry statement today. It begins with a bitter note: “It would be advisable that the aforementioned re-reads, without mistaking the content, what was written a few days ago by Milan”.
“Milan hasn’t manifested a degree of disengagement in the project. On the contrary. Milan, however, calls for legitimate requests for clarification and documentation that so far have not been received. Furthermore, and it is worth noting, that to date it is based on a non-binding expression of interest. Now and only now does the contracting stage begin. To date, Milan has not, despite its right, been able to carry out the surface drilling or receive the necessary documentation. Nobody knows what you might find subsurface and not even Fondazione Fiera, the owner of the land, is aware of it. If it turns out that the subsurface situation is more serious (with the need for major intervention) than so far only speculated about by Fondazione Fiera, this would mean that the area could not even be offered for rent to carry out the construction of a stadium.” the statement reads further.
Aside of explaining the merit of Milan’s claim, the club also pelted Fiera with their own accusation. “In addition, Fondazione Fiera’s urgency is impossible to understand because the aforementioned made Milan, with its continuous delays created also by other events (for instance, among others, the appointment of Fiera Spa), lose 8 months. A time period that would have allowed Milan to evaluate other areas or to realise that the one belonging to Fondazione Fiera would make it impossible to be ready for the 2018-19 season. It is worth mentioning that these repeated delays from Fondazione Fiera have had negative consequences on Milan, resulting in loss of revenue and missing sponsorship, for millions of euros. Milan hopes that a proactive spirit will return and that the relationship can move forwards in a constructive manner in the mutual interest of both parties.”