Will Milan and Inter soon have a new stadium? Or are the ideas that have been advanced in recent years destined to remain simple dreams on paper, not achievable? For now, it is still difficult to know: in recent months various meetings have been held between the two companies and some hypotheses have been made, some more concrete, others more difficult to implement but by no means impossible.
Qual è la situazione allo stato attuale delle cose? Quali sono i progetti su cui stanno lavorando da un lato Erick Thohir – fresco di cambio di allenatore, col ritorno in panchina di Roberto Mancini – e Barbara Berlusconi? Visto che tra una settimana esatta le due squadre di Milano si sfideranno sul prato di San Siro, ricapitoliamo la situazione con una guida a cinque cose da sapere sulle ipotesi di nuovo stadio per Milan e Inter.
Why It’s Important to Build Your Own Stadium
The Example of English Companies
It is clear to everyone how, in the last ten years, Italian football has lost positions in Europe and in the world: our teams and our national team, after the triumph of the 2006 World Cup, have no longer been competitive on a large scale, partly for technical reasons but above all for a noticeable drop in investments. Calciopoli first and then the economic crisis has wiped out the finances of many clubs, forcing them to give up the champions of the past and to settle for second-rate choices or champions in a decidedly declining phase.
While our best coaches regularly triumph abroad and even our most interesting players often choose the foreign option, the rebirth of our football, therefore, seems to be closely linked to the economic rebirth. According to analysts and the clubs themselves, the first path to take in this sense is to have their own stadium: up to now, in fact, Italian teams have always played in stadiums granted to them by the various municipalities, upon payment of rent. This certainly lowered the costs for the individual teams, but also prevented them from having real income from the spectators, especially if we consider that – also due to the violence – the stadiums often remained empty.
STADIUMS TRANSFORMED INTO SHOPPING MALLS
In short, the model to follow is the English one: across the Channel, in fact, the companies own their facilities, where they not only allow spectators to watch the game but also offer a whole series of paid structures that allow you to monetize the appointments. championship; so in the stadium there is the team museum, restaurants, merchandising shops, and more and a whole series of other activities. If you have been to a foreign stadium and have taken one of the usual guided tours inside the facility, you know what we are talking about.
This, according to the projects, should allow the teams to diversify their revenues, too tied in Italy to television rights alone, whose revenues have dropped due to the reduced presence in European cups and the general economic crisis and consequently also of pay-TV. However, Juventus, Sassuolo, and partly Udinese have already taken this path, and the results so far seem to be encouraging.
The Current State of San Siro
Just Entered Uefa Category 4
Built between 1925 and 1926 and inaugurated on 19 September 1926 with a friendly match between AC Milan and Inter, the Meazza stadium was built (with a capacity of 35 thousand spectators) on the initiative of AC Milan and in particular its president at the time. Piero Pirelli, also the owner of that Pirelli that would later be linked, many years later, to the fate of the Nerazzuri instead.
Initially, a stadium owned by the Rossoneri (Inter played in fact at the Arena Civica), it was sold to the Municipality of Milan in 1935, which financed the works by expanding it to a capacity of 55 thousand seats; then in ’49 Inter also began to play there and in ’55 the second ring was added, reaching 90 thousand seats, then dropped by a few thousand in the following years; the last major renovation dates back to 1990, on the occasion of the World Cup, with the addition of the third ring and the total coverage, with 85 thousand seats all seated.
THE LATEST MODERNIZATION WORKS
The need to further modernize the stadium, however, has emerged strongly in recent years, both due to the requests made by UEFA and the economic needs we have already mentioned. The latest works, in this sense, dating back to a couple of years ago, when the companies and the Municipality launched a modernization of the system necessary to bring the stadium into Category 4 UEFA (the highest, which provides for certain parking spaces, press areas of certain sizes, specific seats in the press stand and so on), while also arranging the grass with mixed synthetic quality.
But as big and popular as the stadium is (five years ago the Times named it the second most beautiful stadium in the world), there are many changes that would be needed to make it truly a money machine. We will see, in the following paragraphs, what are the ideas about Milan and especially Inter, who are really focusing on Meazza from what has emerged in recent months.
Barbara Berlusconi’s Proposal
A New Stadium for Milan in the Expo Area?
At AC Milan, Barbara Berlusconi, the thirty-year-old CEO who her father Silvio has for some time now indicated as the future of the Rossoneri, has dealt fully with the stadium issue. A few weeks ago, not surprisingly, the young manager met with Erick Thohir at Villa Belvedere to discuss – they are the new leaders of the two Milanese clubs – the future of football in the city.
Barbara’s idea would be to leave the San Siro as soon as possible, to build – as Juventus did – a sort of Milan Stadium from scratch. Various factors could facilitate such an action: firstly, the Letta government has considerably streamlined the bureaucratic process for initiatives of this type, given that until a few months ago the technical times required from 4 to 5 years to obtain the necessary authorizations, while now the whole thing can be done in 12-15 months; secondly, the works for the Expo that will be hosted by Milan in 2015 will see the redevelopment of many areas of the city, and it is not certain that one of these areas cannot become, after the event, the ideal location for a new stadium, already perfectly connected to the rest of the city.
POSSIBLE LOCATIONS FOR THE NEW PLANT
These are the premises, even if it is not easy to pass from the premises to the facts. First of all, the Expo areas don’t seem to be as cheap as previously thought; the backup solution would be the area behind the Perrucchetti barracks, via Primaticcio, which in the past had also been tempting to Massimo Moratti for a similar project for Inter and which would be well served by the subway (even if it would require road works ); for this eventuality, contacts have already been started with the Ministry of Defense, but it seems that the urban planning costs are particularly heavy.
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In any case, the big problem is not so much the areas, but the costs. The balance of Milan is not particularly healthy at the moment, and Barbara would have received a halt from her father, who still considers certain expenses excessive, not so easy to absorb if not in the long term. In the long run, however, the determination of Barbara – who has already commissioned a project for Fabio Novembre (who has also recently designed the new club logo) – seems destined to prevail, even if for now every speech has been postponed. until after 2016.
Erick Thohir’s Idea
An All-nerazzurri Meazza
Even Erick Thohir, the patron of Inter, is strongly convinced of the need for a facility owned by his team, and he recently reiterated this at a conference held in London. But if in the beginning, this objective seemed to be pursued through the construction of a new stadium, now the Indonesian tycoon seems to have fallen back on the Meazza, which would remain the exclusive Intervista if AC Milan’s plan to build a new stadium is realized elsewhere.
In short, the idea would be the same that Udinese is pursuing with Friuli: obtaining the surface rights of the stadium area from the Municipality and then starting major works, not so much modernization (which have been largely part already completed or which are in the pipeline in recent months), as well as of receptive improvement, that is, which allows offering a greater number of services – obviously for a fee – to spectators. Furthermore, the project that Thohir has in mind would provide for a decrease in seats, knocking down the entire third ring and bringing the capacity to 56 thousand spectators, creating, instead of those seats, boxes, and lounges to be sold to companies.
A STADIUM THAT BRINGS MONEY 365 DAYS A YEAR
The idea, as already mentioned, was also cherished by Massimo Moratti during his presidency, because the coexistence with Milan, which has always been based on collaboration and mutual respect, is in any case a bit close to the aims of economic expansion of the two teams; the primary need, as Thohir himself pointed out, is, in fact, to be able to have a plant that brings income for 365 days a year to a single team.
Moreover, this could paradoxically also have a good impact abroad: as evidenced by a recent UEFA gaffe – which, announcing the choice of San Siro as the stadium for the 2016 Champions League final, defined it as “the stadium of ‘AC Milan ”- abroad this facility is still perceived as the stadium of the Rossoneri; only a definitive farewell from the team coached by Pippo Inzaghi will allow him to be associated with Inter and also, finally, to see him called with his official name, Meazza, which is another symbol of Inter history.
The Champions League Final
In 2016 Again at the Meazza, After That 2001
Although the two clubs have moved a lot in these first weeks of the new season and have on several occasions expressed the desire to speed up operations for the stadiums, everything – as we have said – is for the moment on stand-by, postponed until after 2016. Yes, but why 2016? What is special about that date?
Last September UEFA, after the works carried out in the last two years, in fact, decided to assign the 2016 Champions League final to Milan (while the Europa League final will be held in Basel), an event that had already taken place verified three more times previously: in 1965 the great Inter of Helenio Herrera (and Facchetti, Jair, Mazzola, Suarez, and Corso) defeated, playing at home, Eusebio’s Benfica 1-0; in 1970, under the direction of Concepts Lo Bello, Feyenoord coached by Ernst Happel overtook Celtic in Glasgow; finally in 2001, Ottmar Hitzfeld’s Bayern Munich was right at the penalties of Hector Cuper’s Valencia, another old acquaintance of the Milanese stadium.
ANOTHER 20 MILLION EUROS TO INVEST
To better meet this occasion, therefore, the Municipality and the two football clubs have already decided to launch another 20 million euros (in addition to the 20 already spent in the past two years) to make the system even more efficient, redeveloping the bathrooms, the press area, expanding the skyboxes (VIP rooms) and reshaping the first ring.
Furthermore, the dream of Milan – but that Inter seems to have already married – is to create real “American” shows before and during the interval of matches, in order to attract not only the players to the stadium. most loyal fans, but also their families, and thus offer an all-around show, which can guarantee 360 ° entertainment. The primary objective, for now, however, is to bring at least one of the two Milanese teams to qualify for the next Champions League: it is almost impossible that Milan and Inter, in the reconstruction phase, can already aspire to the final, but at least play the phase in groups at San Siro would be a good sign.