The Italian giant, AC Milan have been banned by UEFA from competing in the Champions League and Europa League for the 2018-19 season after breaching Financial Fair Play rules.
UEFA announced the shocking decision on Tuesday, citing that AC Milan would not be able to play in any European competition for the 2018/19 campaign despite qualifying for the Europa League.
The Italian giants finished sixth in Serie A last season to secure their spot in next season’s Europa League
Recall that the Italian club spent more than £175million (€200m) on new players last year amid questions over the financial stability of the Chinese-led consortium that purchased the club from Silvio Berlusconi for £600m in April 2017.
But the club will have the right to appeal, but if unsuccessful they will serve the ban and would be eligible to enter again in 2019-20 if they qualify for either the Champions or Europa League.
Here is the statement by UEFA below.
“The Adjudicatory Chamber of the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB), chaired by Jose 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.
“The club is excluded from participating in the next UEFA club competition for which it would otherwise qualify in the next two (2) seasons (i.e. one competition in 2018/19 or 2019/20, subject to qualification).
“This decision may be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, in accordance with Article 34(2) of the Procedural rules governing the UEFA Club Financial Control Body, as well as Articles 62 and 63 of the UEFA Statutes.
“Atalanta will qualify straight to the group phase. Fiorentina will enter the preliminary round.”
However, later on Wednesday evening the Italian club announced they would appeal against the ban to the CAS.
“AC Milan has instructed its legal team to appeal the decision before the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, seeking for a prompt review of the ruling,” AC Milan said.
“AC Milan fully trusts the CAS will hear its arguments and will refrain from commenting further pending the arbitration.”
Milan are reported to have argued their finances are now stable as a result of their takeover by Li Yonghong last year but UEFA has still acted.
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”.
The punishment could increase speculation over the futures of goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and defender Leonardo Bonucci, who have persistently been linked with moves away from the San Siro.