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Chinese owners of FC Internazionale want a dedicated and self-owned stadium

by Gianni Dragoni

The new Chinese owner of FC Internazionale, Shanghai-based group Suning Holdings, has decided to start looking for a suitable area to build a new stadium.

The self-owned stadium would replace the San Siro facility, owned by the City of Milan and rented out by both Milan clubs, i.e. alongside AC Milan.

Suning aims to lead the Inter (or “Nerazzurri”) to the same level as the great European teams, and therefore deems the investment in the new stadium necessary.

Former president Massimo Moratti was the first to come up with the idea. Inter, however, had no money at the time, plagued as it was by continued losses.

The last football season, 2015-2016, ended with a consolidated net loss of €59.6 million, after reporting net gains from player sales amounting to €31.6 million. During the time Erick Thohir was chairman, the project was set aside.

Suning would like the new stadium to be ready by 2022. Inter’s plans were also met with interest from the landowners in the outskirts of Milan, who smelled a bargain.

Among the possible options, for now, are part of the former Expo area in Rho, the former Falck steelworks in Sesto San Giovanni, and an area in Assago. No decision has however been taken.

The option of building the stadium in the city of Milan - if a suitable area is found - has not been ruled out either.

Two years ago, the project fostered by AC Milan fell through. The chosen area was in the old Milan Fiera fair area, at the Portello.

An agreement had been reached with the Fiera Foundation, but eventually the club’s owner, Silvio Berlusconi, revoked the project due to high costs.

According to Inter’s latest financial statements, the team pays €4.659 million per year to the City of Milan for the use of the San Siro stadium. More or less the same sum is paid by AC Milan. In total, the City collects approximately €11 million from the two teams per year.

Were Inter to build its own stadium and leave San Siro, it should discuss with the municipality in order to determine who will cover this sum, at least until 2030, when the contract for San Siro expires.