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Milan’s Fassone “surprised” by UEFA FFP settlement rejection

UEFA announced today that it had rejected Milan’s settlement offer and that it would rule on any discipline for the club in June

Gran Gala Del Calcio 2017 Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

AC Milan CEO Marco Fassone seemed surprised and disappointed today after UEFA rejected the club’s settlement offer for a violation of Financial Fair Play rules.

Milan has been hounded for much of the season by a failure to come to an agreement with UEFA over the previous potential violations of FFP rules. UEFA had already rejected a settlement last December, and after this last attempt at a settlement fell through, Milan will now face a hearing with the UEFA Club Financial Control Body in June to determine what penalties the club will face for its violation of the rules.

Fassone posted a statement on the club’s official website, saying:

It seems important for Milan to take a clear position after reading the UEFA statement. As you can imagine, that gave us surprise and a great deal of bitterness, because frankly I expected UEFA to offer a settlement agreement,” Fassone told reporters at the Lega Serie A summit.

Since Financial Fair Play has been in place, the settlement agreement has been offered to all clubs, only to one Russian club of a low status was it denied.

We went to UEFA for the first time 15 days after closing, so very premature situation to offer our plans. We had the right to a voluntary agreement, as the club had changed ownership in 2017, but that was not given because they required €165m from the holding company.

UEFA said the fact the holding, and not the club, has still not refinanced the debt with Elliott is casting shadows over the future of the club after October 2018.

So this is based entirely on doubts and assumptions about what could potentially happen. These doubts are based on nothing, because the year has seen consistent repayment of debts by the deadlines and nothing ever affected the club.

Also, Elliott are the creditors and have offered to act as guarantors for the debt with a written statement.

Obviously, tomorrow our legal team will evaluate the situation, as the fact we were deferred to the Adjudicatory Chamber is damaging to the club and to our image, so that has to be looked at carefully.

This is clearly an attempt at damage control, as large questions still surround the finances of the club’s ownership under Yonghong Li and the €380 million loan that is owned to Elliott Management that is due in October of 2018.

UEFA seems unconvinced by the plans put forward by the club so far, saying:

After careful examination of all the documentation and explanations provided by the club, the CFCB Investigatory Chamber considers that the circumstances of the case do not allow the conclusion of a settlement agreement.

In particular, the CFCB Investigatory Chamber is of the opinion that, among other factors, there remains uncertainties in relation to the refinancing of the loan and the notes to be paid back in October 2018.

The Adjudicatory Chamber will make a decision on this case in due course.

The CFCB Investigatory Chamber will further communicate in June its other decisions in relation to the monitoring of the clubs under investigation or under settlement agreement.

Potential penalties that could be enforced by UEFA include a transfer ban, large fines, or being ruled out of the 2018-19 Europa League. Any of these conditions would only serve to further deteriorate the financial position of the ownership, so this could have very damaging consequences for the club.

This is only the beginning of what will prove to be an ugly process, so expect more accusations being flung between Milan and UEFA in the next month and into the summer. At the very least, this will leave Milan at a disadvantage in the upcoming summer transfer window as the club looks to reload and attract new recruits.