Thursday, 6 August 2015

The Stadio Milan Squabble

There were murmurs for a few days that Milan could abandon plans to build a stadium in the Portello area, right next to Casa Milan, the club's headquarters, and they projected into a very public squabble on Thursday.

The Fondazione Fiera, who own the land and are responsible for developing the city's exhibition industry, awarded Milan the area in early July after a protracted process that saw the club overcome rival bids. The enthusiasm that followed the decision indicated that the worst of it was over, and that the city council's compliance would be a much easier process.  Joint CEO Barbara Berlusconi even delivered a somewhat ornate message through the club's official website, which pronounced her vision for a "Milan like London," in which the stadium was a linchpin of civic life (a boon lost on the local residents that have been protesting its construction for months).

However, Milan raised suspicions at the land's exorbitant reclamation cost, which they maintain was not made clear to them earlier.  The Fondazione Fiera claim, very vocally in today's Corriere della Sera, that they had been transparent all along and that Barbara Berlusconi even agreed to all the stipulations.

Milan issued a stern rejoinder through their website today, reminding the people at Fondazione Fiera that they were still waiting for the details of the reclamation and that they were working without any binding contracts.  Milan also added that had these costs been made clear in the previous 8 months, the club may have seriously evaluated other areas, and now to build a stadium for the start of the 2018-19 season (the original plan) may be impossible, resulting in lost revenue.

That is the encapsulation of the quarrel, a quarrel that is quintessentially Italian in some ways, and typical of these sorts of projects in others.  

To add to the rigmarole, some sections of the Italian media also speculated that Bee Taechaubol, the broker representing a consortium that aims to buy 48% of Milan by September 30th, was lukewarm towards Barbara Berlusconi's stadium idea as well.  However, that was denied yesterday by Licia Ronzulli, a mediator between Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi and the Thai broker.

Meanwhile, Milan fans eagerly await a denouement.  The club have already looked at alternatives.

Milan's official statement: http://www.acmilan.com/en/news/show/158251

The coveted Portello area right next to Casa Milan with a rendering of Milan's proposed stadium


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