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Wednesday 16 October 2019

Europe ban for Milan after breach of spending rules

Li Yonghong. Photo: Getty Images
Li Yonghong. Photo: Getty Images

AC Milan have struck a deal with UEFA to serve a one-year ban from European football for breaching the governing body's financial fair-play rules, the Court of Arbitration for Sport has announced.

The agreement means Milan will not take their place in next season's Europa League and UEFA will end its proceedings against the Italian club for overspending between 2016 and 2018 - the second three-year accounting period in a row that got them in hot water with UEFA.

Their place in the Europa League is now likely to go to Torino, who finished seventh in Serie A last season, which means their campaign will start with the final qualifying round for the competition's group stages on July 25.

UEFA initially gave Milan a two-year FFP ban last summer, but the club successfully appealed against that sanction at CAS, only for the seven-time European champions to be referred to UEFA's financial watchdog again in April.

Under UEFA's rules, clubs are not allowed to make losses of more than €30million over three seasons, a cap UEFA believed Milan breached between 2015 and 2017 when they spent £200m on transfers, with more spending in 2018, as well.

But Milan managed to persuade sport's highest court that their finances would improve under the ownership of American hedge fund Elliott Management Corporation, which assumed control of the club last summer when former owner Li Yonghong missed a repayment on the loan he had taken to buy the club in 2017.

That CAS decision gave them until June 2021 to balance their books or receive an automatic one-year ban from European club football.

But April's referral for a second FFP breach could have seen the club banned from Europe for two years, which forced Milan back to the negotiating table.

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