Inter-Milan ‘The Cathedral’ dreams shattered!


San Siro and it’s never ending story Image: San Siro, Jose Luis Hidalgo R., CC BY 2.0

There is no end to the San Siro Stadium (Milan, Italy) saga. But now the die is almost cast.

‘La Gazzetta dello Sport’ stated that an injunction against demolishing the San Siro is set to come into effect which will prove to be the last nail in the coffin of the Serie A teams – Inter Milan and A.C. Milan – new venue dreams (‘The Cathedral’). The injunction will come into effect in 2025, on the 70th anniversary of the construction of the stadium’s second tier.

The A.C. Milan or simply Milan is a professional football club in Milan, Italy, founded in 1899. The club has spent its entire history, with the exception of the 1980-1981 and 1982-1983 seasons, in the top flight of Italian football, known as Serie A since 1929-1930.

The Inter, and colloquially known as Inter Milan in English-speaking countries, is an Italian professional football club based in Milan, Lombardy, Italy. Inter is the only Italian side to have always competed in the top flight of Italian football since its debut in 1909.

The Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, commonly known as San Siro, is a football stadium in the San Siro district of Milan, Italy, which is the home of A.C. Milan and Inter Milan. It has a seating capacity of 80,018, making it one of the largest stadiums in Europe, and the largest in Italy.

The plan was that the famed San Siro Stadium will be demolished entirely shortly after the 2026 Winter Olympics under new plans put forward by A.C. Milan and Inter Milan. The stadium is due to host the Olympic Opening Ceremony in 2026, after which it were being planned to be knocked down and a new arena coming up on the adjacent site.

The 2026 Winter Olympics, officially the XXV Olympic Winter Games and also known as Milano Cortina 2026, is an upcoming international multisport event scheduled to take place from February 6th-22nd, 2026. The event will have the Italian Cities of Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo as the main Host Cities.

‘La Gazzetta dello Sport’ further stated that now there is no need to wait for 2025 to get a clear picture on the San Siro Stadium. With the above injunction decision, the writing is almost on the wall.

The contention is that the famous ramps of the second ring of the stadium, built in 1955, cannot be torn down after 70 years (in 2025) as the same has legal underpinnings under publicly-owned assets. These ramps cannot be demolished in the name of building a state-of-the art stadium.

The Undersecretary for Cultural Heritage Vittorio Sgarbi has repeatedly asserted that the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza “cannot be touched”.

The top-flight clubs’ ‘The Cathedral’ dreams have also come-a-crashing.

‘The Cathedral’ was being planned as a celebration of the artistic and cultural heritage of Milan (Italy). Its design was inspired by two of the most famous buildings in the City – the Duomo di Milano and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele – and would have resulted in a unique stadium that would have stood out from any other sporting arena in the world and would have served as the home venue of Italy’s top-rung clubs – A.C. Milan and Inter Milan.

On June 24th, 2019, A.C. Milan and Inter Milan announced their intention to build a new stadium to replace the San Siro. The new 60,000-capacity stadium, which would was planned to be constructed next to the San Siro, was anticipated to cost US$800 million and was earlier expected to be ready for the 2022-2023 seasons.

In December 2021, the top-notch clubs announced that the celebrated design studio Populous’ project – ‘The Cathedral’ – was being selected for their new stadium.

For the past several months, the feasibility of the San Siro plans was already looking very bleak. To top it all, red tapism drove the top-flights up the wall.

Now, with the entire injunction thing coming up, Inter-Milan will be able to take a concrete decision within the space of a few weeks on whether they want to stay back in San Siro or go their separate ways. If the clubs cannot pull down San Siro, they have repeatedly argued that they see no point in going forward with the venue project.

Either the clubs will have to be on the same page as the City and agree to renovate the San Siro the price tag of which is expected to be between 40 and 50 million, or they will move out and give fresh lease of life to ‘The Cathedral’ dreams. Sources stated that there is a huge likelihood of the clubs going their separate ways and building their standalone digs.

As things are developing, Inter-Milan moving together on the whole San Siro redevelopment part seems to be a remote possibility as both the clubs have thrown enough hints earlier that they want to build their own stadium in two different areas.

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