AC Milan won’t be playing in Europe during the 2019-20 season. The Rossoneri side had previously clinched a spot in the UEFA Europa League group stage, but they will have to forfeit it due to financial problems. Due to this, AS Roma will enter the group stage and Torino will play in the tournament’s qualifying rounds.
The Rossoneri have been barred from taking part in the competition in 2019-20 by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), after breaching UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules. A CAS statement reads: “The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has issued a Consent Award embodying the agreement reached between AC Milan S.p.A and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) concerning breaches of the UEFA Financial Fair Play Regulations by the Italian club.”
How did this happen? and why Milan received this ban?
Here’s how it happened. Milan had been under heavy scrutiny ever since Chinese businessman Yonghong Li purchased the club. The experienced entrepreneur wanted to bring the club’s glory days back to Milan. However, all he did was to spend money without really knowing what he was doing. The on-field results didn’t improve, and the club’s best finish since his arrival came last season when the club ended in fifth place.
But the issues go ever since the Chinese takeover at Milan became a reality. The club failed to meet the break-even requirement for two successive years. Initially they received a two-year ban from European club competitions last summer. However, Milan successfully appealed that sanction. But they were on the radar once again this past April. And things did not look good ever since UEFA acknowledged they were looking closely at the Milan-based club.
Under UEFA’s rules, clubs are not allowed to make losses of more than £27million over three seasons, a cap UEFA believed AC Milan breached between 2015-17 when they spent £200million on transfers. Even knowing what was going on, the club kept spending in 2018. With that in mind, the punishment was going to be inevitable.
Last December, Milan were warned that they must break even by June 2021 and had £10million in prize money. By all accounts, this looks like something extremely hard to achieve although it will also lead to something else. Milan will have to sell players if they want to gather big sums of money in a fast way.
Which players could leave AC Milan as a result?
Milan have several players that might gather interest in the transfer market, though. Ricardo Rodriguez, Alessio Romagnoli, Lucas Paquetá and Suso could all find themselves playing elsewhere by the time the 2019-20 season rolls around. The Rossoneri side could gather over between €100M and €125M easily by selling all those four players.
Milan are not expected to part ways with their two biggest stars, though. The club will probably reject any potential approaches for goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnaruma and striker Krzysztof Piatek. But desperate times call for desperate measures…
What’s clear is that Milan won’t be playing in Europe next season. And while it’s a huge punishment for such a big club, it should be an alert for other sides that keep spending like crazy year after year. Now let’s see if UEFA go after other big-spending sides such as PSG and Manchester City in the coming weeks. Their course of action there will determine whether UEFA is really trying to hold themselves accountable, or if this was only a one-time thing.
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