Italian giants AC Milan have been banned from European football for one year for breaching Financial Fair Play regulations. Milan had qualified for the group stages of this season’s Europa League after finishing sixth in Serie A. UEFA said the club, which spent £200m on transfers last summer after a takeover, breached rules around requirements for clubs to break even.
Milan said they would appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Before the verdict, Milan released a video on Twitter saying they expected “fairness, rulings based on facts and equal rules for all” from UEFA. The statement said the club are “ready to pay for the errors made in the past” and “have the utmost respect for the rules, but we expect equality”. On Wednesday the club added: “AC Milan has instructed its legal team to appeal the decision seeking a prompt review of the ruling.” The Italian club was owned by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi from 1986 until it was sold to a Chinese consortium for 740m euros in April 2017. The club then went on a £200m spending spree in the summer, bringing in Leonardo Bonucci from Juventus for £35.1m and Andre Silva from FC Porto for £33.6m. It was the first time since 2002 the club had broken the £30m barrier for a player. UEFA referred the case to its adjudicatory body to make a ruling as it said there “remained uncertainties” following an investigation into the Serie A club’s financial affairs. The “uncertainties” were said to relate to the refinancing of a loan due to be paid back in October 2018. UEFA’s financial fair play rules were brought in to stop clubs running up huge debts, and they can be punished if they spend more money than they earn. Sanctions for breaching the rules range from warnings and reprimands to points deductions and transfer embargoes.