AC Milan is out of the 2019-20 edition of the Europa League after coming to a voluntary agreement with the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The agreement with UEFA covers the Financial Fair Play breaches that Milan had for two three-year periods from 2014-17 and 2015-18. As a result of these breaches, Milan has agreed to a punishment of exclusion from this season’s Europa League.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has issued a consent award ratifying AC Milan’s (the “Club”) voluntary acceptance of a one year exclusion from UEFA Club competitions, in settlement of breaches of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations in the three-year periods 2014-2017 and 2015-2018.
The current shareholder took ownership of the Club in July 2018, inheriting substantial accumulated losses after the previous owner of AC Milan defaulted on debt obligations. These losses and the associated violation of FFP rules, as a consequence of actions taken under previous ownership, led to sanctions by UEFA. Whilst saddened by the fact that our fans will not be able to see their team compete in European competition next season, the Club recognises and respects FFP. The Club acknowledges it has no other choice but to accept the sanctions, as it seeks to forge a pathway back to full compliance.
AC Milan remains committed to restoring the Club to its rightful place at the top of European football. Today’s ruling will act as a stimulus to maximize the efforts to become fully compliant with FFP, while at the same time consolidating the competitiveness of the Club, and returning AC Milan to sustainability and a more positive future.
There is a certain amount of irony in forcing a club out of European competition, where they would earn additional money, as a result of not earning enough money to cover the club’s spending. However, given the alternatives, such as transfer bans or being tossed from the Champions League, this isn’t necessarily the worst thing that could have happened.
If this means that the FFP issues are behind Milan, then being out of the Europa League is worth it. Going forward it will also mean that Milan will need to sell before buying new players until regularly earning Champions League money. This is a sadly predictable result of Milan’s new reality and gives Marco Giampaolo the tall task of qualifying for the Champions League without the sort of cash that teams like Juventus and Napoli are able to spend.
Hopefully this will be the last that Milan has to deal with FFP issues and the CAS.