The construction of a new stadium for Inter and AC Milan may start at the beginning of 2022. Funds for this purpose have been secured and clubs have to choose one of the two projects under consideration. The city authorities are favourable to the construction, and the owners of both clubs understand perfectly well that the new stadium is a development opportunity.
Amendments to feasibility study ready
In early November, Inter and AC Milan completed the necessary documentation for a feasibility study for the new stadium. The application was accompanied by a jointly developed financial plan for the revitalization of the San Siro district. The completion of the documents was a necessary step that had to be taken in order to prove that the investment was in line with the public interest. The application submitted by both clubs will be verified by the City Council, whose resolution takes into account the effect of consultations with the residents of the district.
AC Milan and Inter will soon start work to approve the construction project. At the moment, two concepts are being considered, the first one was drawn up by the American giant Populous, and the second one by Manica / Progetto CMR consortium. In both cases, it involves the construction of a stadium with a capacity of 60,000 and the renovation of the existing Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.
The current stadium will no longer be used for Serie A games, but will continue to exist in a limited form. As emphasized by the authorities of both clubs, the iconic elements of the present stadium are to be maintained and fit into the new look of the district. It was also confirmed that a compromise was reached with the city authorities regarding the size of the commercial space of the stadium, which is to be 145,000 square meters. Originally, the owners of both clubs opted for the allocation of 180,000 square meters for commercial purposes.
New look of the San Siro district
Additionally, the stadium area is to be transformed into a modern sports and entertainment district, which will bring many benefits to the city's residents. Recently, the district has lived only during football matches. The construction of sports, recreational and cultural facilities as well as a business centre will cause a significant revival in the area, which was extremely quiet when football was not played there.
These investments will make it vibrant and most of the new facilities will be available to residents free of charge. It is also planned to increase the pedestrianized areas to 220,000 square meters and green areas out of the current 56,000 square meters up to 106,000 square meters.
To make this possible, both Milanese clubs have committed to continuing their cooperation with maximum effort with the municipality of Milan, the Lombardy region and other entities involved in developing solutions for the construction of the stadium. Despite the coronavirus pandemic and the difficult financial situation in the region, Inter and AC Milan reaffirm their pledges that they intend to generate 3,000 - 3,500 new jobs in the San Siro district.
Will construction of stadium start at the beginning of 2022?
The authorities of both clubs would like to obtain a permit to build the stadium around October or November 2021. Should this happen, there will be 3 years left to build the stadium from the moment a positive decision is obtained. The total investment in the stadium and the recreation and business centre will amount to € 1.25 billion.
These costs will be shared equally between both clubs. Financing the construction will be possible thanks to the support of the banks Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, which have pledged to grant loans to clubs. This would mean that the inauguration of the 2024/25 football season will take place at the new facility. City of Milan, along with Cortina, hosts the 2026 Winter Olympics, and the new stadium could also be used for the event.
At present, the city authorities are quite favourable to the new investment. However, it is not known what will happen next spring after the elections to the City Council. There is a risk that in the event of a change in the balance of power on Milan's political scene, the entire procedure related to the construction of the stadium will start anew.
Last week, the City Council asked both clubs to clarify their ownership structure, with particular emphasis on the Rossoneri. This was the aftermath of a Rai Tre TV report that challenged Elliott Management as owner of AC Milan. Club officials say they have nothing to hide and are ready to present documents proving that the Elliott Management group owns 99% of the club's shares. The precise definition of the owners is necessary when the City Council starts talks on the concession for the use of the stadium and other talks related to the construction of the facility.
Some remain sceptical about the schedule of 2022-2024, despite quite optimistic approach by the clubs. Official green light is now expected around October or November of 2021, while Milan president Paolo Scaroni went as far as to suggest groundbreaking by the end of 2021. “Milano Fnanza” argues, however, that there’s quite a long way to go before any work can begin. First, one of the two designs has to be selected. Second, it has to get full documentation done and approved, which never happens in less than a year for projects of this magnitude. Also, contractors have to be appointed and lest we forget both the city and region will have the right to interfere again before ground breaks.
Author: Tomasz Sobura