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BREAKING NEWS: AC Milan banned for one European competition in the next two years by UEFA

The worst fears were realized today as the ban hammer comes down hard

UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League - Play-off Round Draw Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

The worst fears have been confirmed, as UEFA has announced that AC Milan have been banned from one European competition in the next two seasons as punishment for violating financial fair play (FFP) rules.

Milan will likely appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, but that’s a last-ditch measure and will not likely change anything.

From UEFA’s official statement:

The Adjudicatory Chamber of the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB), chaired by José Narciso da Cunha Rodrigues, has taken a decision in the case of the club AC Milan that had been referred to it by the CFCB Chief Investigator for the breach of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations, in particular the break-even requirement.

This is bad news for Milan, especially with the ownership of the club in flux. UEFA, in their decision to refer Milan to the CFCB, cited their wariness with the financing of the current owner Yonghong Li and the debt that was owed to American hedge fund Elliott Management.

Li has a debt of €380 million owed to Elliott coming due in October, and he appears to have no way to pay that money. Last week, in fact, Elliott Management had to front Li €32 million to keep Milan running, and that Li has 10 days, until 6 July, to pay Elliott back.

Rocco Comisso, the American businessman and owner of the New York Cosmos, has reportedly pulled out of negotiations to become the primary owner of the club after Li was rumoured to have changed the deal at the last minute. There are other potential owners apparently interested in owning Milan, but none of them were in as advanced a stage as Commisso’s deal. If Li cannot pay the €380 million debt to Elliott Management back in October, Elliott Management would take control of the club for almost half the price that Li paid for the club last April.

Today’s announcement is sure to be disappointing to Milan fans everywhere as it appears to mean that even if Milan qualify for the Champions League next season, they won’t be able to play.