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San Siro stadium is a pilgrimage for football fans. Perhaps world football's most iconic stadium – only Wembley Stadium and the Maracana are on a par – this historic ground hosts Italian giants and city rivals AC Milan and Inter Milan, but its future is decidedly uncertain.
Football Ground Guide is here to give you all the latest on plans to demolish San Siro, AC Milan and Inter's plans to move elsewhere and everything you need to know about this glorious amphitheatre's future.
San Siro's official name is Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. It has been home to AC Milan and Inter since 1947.
Latest on San Siro rebuild, renovation and upgrade plans
Are they rebuilding San Siro?
In short, no. Not anymore.
Up until recently, it looked likely that this wonderful piece of footballing architecture would be torn down, but that has changed recently. An intervention from the Regional Commission for the Cultural Heritage of Lombardy has saved San Siro. Its distinctive appearance gives it cultural significance, they rightly note.
However, that doesn't change the plans of AC Milan and Inter, who were behind the desire to knock down San Siro.
Why do AC Milan and Inter Milan want San Siro demolished?
The two clubs want a new stadium and are a long way down the line towards this aim.
The famous architecture studio Populous – also currently working with Manchester United on refurbishment plans for Old Trafford – have designed a new ground for the Milan clubs called ‘the Cathedral'.
Populous' designs were apparently based of two of Milan's most famous buildings, the incredible Duomo di Milan cathedral and the adjacent Galleria Vittorio Emanuele shopping centre.
The plans involve a 60,000-seat arena in a rectangular shape. Populous' managing director, Christopher Lee, claimed The Cathedral would become one of the world football's “most iconic stadiums” by being a “world-class, modern, and truly bespoke home for the legendary clubs of AC Milan and FC Internazionale Milano.”
Original planning involved building The Cathedral alongside San Siro, which would then be demolished. The whole area would become a pedestrian-only district with an emphasis on green space.
These plans are now futile. San Siro will remain. But both clubs remain keen for changes and after nearly a century of ground-sharing, the close relationship between the city rivals might be about to change.
San siro you are fantastic ⚫️🔵 pic.twitter.com/7cwMnOlKwB
— Siavoush Fallahi (@SiavoushF) September 3, 2023
Where will AC Milan and Inter Milan play?
Are AC Milan leaving the San Siro?
Most likely, yes. The opposition to demolishing Stadio Giuseppe Meazza does not end AC Milan's goal to leave their historic ground.
There are suggestions that Milan will build a new stadium in San Donato Milanese, an area the club are already invested in.
San Siro might be wonderful to look at, but its facilities are extremely outdated and its potential to earn its clubs revenue is very limited.
Are Inter Milan leaving the San Siro?
Again, yes. But not with AC Milan. Architects Journal report Inter have links with the Populous company and will continue working with them despite plans for The Cathedral being shelved for now.
Inter are likely to base their new stadium plans in the Rozzano area, south of Milan city centre.
Why do AC Milan and Inter Milan share a stadium?
San Siro was originally the home of AC Milan, from its construction in 1926 until 1947. At that point, Inter – who had been playing their home fixtures at the Arena Civic – began sharing with their rivals.
It was, and is, a marriage of convenience, dictated by the lack of alternatives and the ease of sharing which allows the clubs to share financial responsibilities towards the ground.
The City of Milan owns the stadium, with AC Milan and Inter acting as shared tenants.
Why have the government stopped the San Siro demolition?
Authorities state that the San Siro has ‘cultural interest' and so cannot be demolished.
Inter and AC Milan have long been prepared for such a verdict and thus have been making alternative plans for some time.
Here's what the authorities said:
“The Regional Commission for the Cultural Heritage of Lombardy expressed a positive opinion on the existence of cultural heritage of the second tier at the San Siro stadium, in view of future verification under article 12 of Legislative Decree 42/2004.
“Thus, the committee endorses the proposal of the superintendence.
“It should also be noted that the Archival and Bibliographic Superintendence for Lombardy, during the same session, recalled the value of the west grandstand of the stadium as an ‘exposed archive' for the plaques/epigraphs documenting the national and international successes of Inter and Milan.”
What do fans think of San Siro demolition plans?
Football fans have long loved Stadio Giuseppe Meazza. Many regard it as a sort of football pilgrimage to visit this remarkable, breath-taking arena in the fabric of which is so much sporting history.
Me when the wrecking ball rolls up to demolish San Siro. pic.twitter.com/Acdn9pyPd9
— Matt Santangelo (@Matt_Santangelo) March 17, 2022
Ultimately, though, this is a decision for the two clubs who are chasing greater revenues to keep up with their domestic and continental rivals in Serie A and the UEFA Champions League.
Who is more successful, AC Milan or Inter Milan?
AC Milan have won seven European titles, including five since 1989. They are undoubtedly the bigger club on a global stage.
However, Inter Milan have won 35 trophies in Italy and AC Milan have won three fewer. It speaks volumes that in Italy the ‘Derbi d'Italia' (The Derby of Italy) is played between Juventus – the country's most well-supported club – and Inter, rather than AC Milan.
Inter have also appeared in a major European final most recently, defeated by Manchester City in the 2023 UEFA Champions League final.