AC Milan stadium plans clear major hurdle

MILAN: AC Milan have cleared a major hurdle in their plans to build a new stadium after their bid to acquire the city's former trade fair grounds was approved by the foundation which owns the land.

Milan, who currently share the ageing municipal San Siro stadium with rivals Inter Milan, are planning to build a 48,000-capacity arena in time for the 2018-19 campaign.

"It is the first historic step," said club director Barbara Berlusconi in a statement published on Milan's website on Tuesday night.

"The decision of the Fondazione Fiera Milano (Milan Fairs Foundation) is the start of the path which, in our intention, will lead to a new stadium."

"It is a first step because we will have to submit the entire project to the institutions for approval."

Berlusconi predicted that the stadium would bring in between 50 million euros ($55 million) and 80 million euros a year in extra revenue.

"It will completely change the mentality of those who go to the stadium, offering services and entertainment not only for the 90 minutes of the game," she said.

"It is essential for the commercial development of the club."

Juventus and Udinese are the only Serie A clubs who own their own stadiums while others use municipal arenas, a situation they complain deprives them of extra revenue.