With the international break upon us, now seems like the perfect time to discuss some off-the-pitch Inter Milan news.
While major renovations took place prior to the 2016 UEFA Champions League Final, the stadium is 91-years old, and could undoubtedly use further enhancements to make the footballing cathedral a more modern and sustainable home for the city’s two mega-clubs.
Whenever we discuss the San Siro, it’s important to note that Inter and AC Milan’s stadium arrangements are unlike that of the majority of clubs in Europe. Even though Inter have called the stadium home since 1947 (and AC Milan have been tenants since 1926), the stadium is not the property of either club. Instead, San Siro is owned and operated by the Municipality of Milan, and the two clubs pay the city a combined fee of €9m per year to lease use of the ground. With that in mind, any needed renovations are, at least on paper, the city’s responsibility, not the clubs’.
As a result, the fact that the clubs have meet with city leadership to discuss investing in renovations indicates that both Inter and AC Milan see San Siro as their long-term home.
This hasn’t always been the case.
If you recall, a few years ago AC Milan were close to leaving San Siro to build their own stadium in the Portello region, which was expected to be completed by the start of the 2018-19 season. Obviously, that plan fell through and the Rossoneri decided to stay. However, if AC Milan had moved forward with their new stadium, Inter reportedly had strong interest in purchasing San Siro from the city of Milan, renovating the ground, and possibly reducing its capacity.
While no such deal materialized, the status quo is far from perfect for either club as the city of Milan still takes a portion of the match-day revenue. With the two Milanese clubs leading the league in average attendance last season, this is not an insignificant detail.
Despite this flawed arraignment, if Inter, AC Milan, and the city are teaming up to fund further San Siro renovations, the status quo will likely remain in place for the foreseeable future.
On a strictly personal note, I’m okay with that, as I don’t want either club to leave the famous old stadium. The San Siro is undoubtedly one of the most significant grounds in the history of Italian football, if not football in general. Since its opening in 1926, the San Siro has been the home stadium for a staggering 28 Scudetto winning teams (13 for Inter and 15 AC Milan).
Although the situation is not ideal, the fact that Inter and AC Milan share the ground is an endearing quirk unlike anything else seen in Europe’s major domestic leagues (aside from AS Roma and Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico). It adds a different dynamic to the rivalry, helping make the Derby della Madonnina one of the fiercest single-city clashes in the world.
Having had the unforgettable opportunity to see a match at the San Siro in-person (Inter 2-0 Genoa in August 2013), I will always hold the stadium near and dear to my heart.
If Inter are in talks with AC Milan and the city on a joint effort to renovate the stadium, it means that the Nerazzurri see the San Siro as their long-term home – in which case, it’s in the club’s best interest to help modernize the ground.
Both Inter and AC Milan are among of Europe’s most prominent clubs. The latest developments indicate that they’ll be staying in one of the continent’s most prestigious stadiums for a while. That’s good news in my book.