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Milans Teams Squabble With City Over New Stadium

Milan’s football clubs and the city municipality are in talks to try to resolve a dispute over plans for a new stadium to replace the nearly century-old San Siro.

Serie A’s clubs AC and Inter, respectively owned by US fund Elliott and Chinese electronic retailer Suning, in July filed a request to build a new jointly owned 60,000-seater stadium in the San Siro area.

In September, both sides unveiled two shortlisted designs for their proposed new ground. The two architectural firms revealed their plans at a presentation at Milan’s Politecnico university, with Manica-Cmr Sportium showcasing its ‘The Rings of Milano’ design and Populous presenting its ‘The Cathedral’ project.

The new stadium is the key element in a wider real estate plan for the district, which includes tearing down the historic San Siro.

AC Milan and Inter see a new modern stadium as a crucial way to boost their revenues, which are lagging behind those of their peers who own their home grounds, such as Serie A rivals Juventus and many of Europe’s other top clubs.

But the Milan municipality, which owns San Siro and has to give its approval to the plan, has so far shown little enthusiasm for the £1billion project, which sources have said Goldman Sachs is ready to bankroll.

Milan’s mayor Giuseppe Sala has repeatedly cast doubt over the idea of knocking down the three-ring stadium that opened in 1926, which has undergone several restorations over the years to reach its current 80,000 capacity.

However, both clubs are reluctant to use a revamped San Siro for their matches in the future, saying further restoration would be costly and ineffective.

Representatives of both clubs and Milan local authorities discussed on Tuesday the possibility of keeping the San Siro as a venue for professional football matches beside the new stadium.

But the clubs said in a statement after the meeting that the co-existence of two professional sport facilities in the area would not be sustainable, citing a study prepared by an adviser.

The Milan municipality was not immediately available to comment.

The two clubs said they had accepted a request by city representatives to assess alternative options for San Siro.

These may include tearing down most of the old arena and keeping only part of the stands as a kind of city landmark, two sources close to the matter said.