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Serie A: The Big Issue Confronting AC Milan

AC Milan
AC Milan's CEO Marco Fassone (C) reacts as he leaves the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after a whole-day appeal against an European ban for breaking UEFA's financial fair play rules, on July 19, 2017 in Lausanne. - Last month European football's governing body UEFA banned Milan from the Europa League for the coming season. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)

Paris Saint-Germain is not the only club under the weight with Financial Fair Play issues. The city of Milan, Italy is a city of two clubs. On one side, there is Inter Milan, the Black and Blue, who are bonafide UEFA Champions League material and are ready for another hit-out on the big stage. And then there is AC Milan, the Red and Black, who are under some heat from UEFA for a questionable business structure that leaves Alexander Ceferin and his mates wondering.

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The Court of Arbitration for Sport, or CAS, has recently overturned a Europa League ban for AC Milan by UEFA. They mentioned that the sanction was too strong. Here is an excerpt from the wording.

“The CAS Panel in charge of the arbitration has partially upheld AC Milan’s appeal and has ruled as follows:
– the decision of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the UEFA CFCB rendered on 19 June 2018
establishing that AC Milan has failed to fulfil the break-even requirement is confirmed;
– the decision of the Adjudicatory Chamber of the UEFA CFCB rendered on 19 June 2018 to
exclude AC Milan from participating in the next UEFA Club competition for which it would
otherwise qualify in the next two (2) seasons (i.e. the 2018/19 and 2019/20 seasons) is annulled;
– the case is referred back to the Adjudicatory Chamber of the UEFA CFCB to issue a
proportionate disciplinary measure.

“The Panel considered that some important elements have not been properly assessed by the Adjudicatory Chamber, or could not be properly assessed at the moment when the Appealed Decision was rendered (19 June 2018), and noted in particular that the current financial situation of the Club was now better, following the recent change in the Club’s ownership.

“The Panel decided to refer the case back to the Adjudicatory Chamber of the UEFA CFCB because the Club had requested that the case be referred back to UEFA and because it considers that the Adjudicatory Chamber is in a better position than the CAS Panel to issue a new proportionate disciplinary measure on the basis of the current financial situation of the Club. The Panel has issued its decision without the grounds, which will follow at a later date.”

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A fine and squad limitations in European competition are expected for next season. Li Yonghong is the former owner of AC Milan and he did not offer sufficient assurances to guarantee that the club will still be standing in the long run, especially with Li defaulting on a loan payment, resulting in Elliott Advisors (UK) limited taking over. With the British now in command of the club, Milan’s financial situation is much stronger, but the damage has been done.

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As a result, AC Fiorentina will not participate in the Europa League and that decision is sure to stir some animosity among ACF supporters when both sides meet in Serie A. Gennaro Gattuso’s AC Milan face Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and FC Barcelona in the International Champions Cup as their preseason before Serie A play.

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