AC Milan bosses ‘surprised, bitter’ as UEFA deny fair play settlement

AC Milan bosses ‘surprised, bitter’ as UEFA deny fair play settlement

AC Milan managing director Marco Fassone said Tuesday he felt “surprise and bitterness” that UEFA had refused to offer a settlement agreement to the Italian club for violating Financial Fair Play rules, as the club could now be excluded from Europe.

The Serie A club face UEFA sanctions after their request for a settlement agreement was rejected by European football’s governing body earlier on Tuesday.

UEFA is concerned over AC Milan’s stability after it was purchased by a Chinese-led consortium from Silvio Berlusconi for 740 million euros ($918mn) in April last year.

The club also spent more than 200 million euros on new players in the summer.

The seven-time European champions have a massive high interest loan of 300 million euros from US hedge fund Elliott Management.

“The UEFA Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) has decided to refer Italian club AC Milan to the Adjudicatory Chamber of the CFCB for breach of the Financial Fair Play regulations, in particular the break-even requirement,” a UEFA statement said.

It added: “There remains uncertainties in relation to the refinancing of the loan and the notes to be paid back in October 2018.”

Punishments can range from a limit on transfer spending as well as squad sizes, to possible exclusion from European competition, meaning AC Milan risk a ban from the Europa League next season.

“As you can imagine, that gave us a surprise and a great deal of bitterness, because frankly I expected UEFA to offer a settlement agreement,” Fassone told reporters at the Lega Serie A summit in Rome.

“Since Financial Fair Play has been in place, the settlement agreement has been offered to all clubs, only to one Russian club of a low status was it denied.

“We are running this club in a very healthy and balanced way, so we fully expected UEFA to offer us a settlement agreement. Frankly, I was really let down.

“So this is based entirely on doubts and assumptions about what could potentially happen.

“These doubts are based on nothing, because the year has seen consistent repayment of debts by the deadlines and nothing ever affected the club.

“Also, Elliott are the creditors and have offered to act as guarantors for the debt with a written statement.

“Obviously, tomorrow (Wednesday) our legal team will evaluate the situation, as the fact we were deferred to the Adjudicatory Chamber is damaging to the club and to our image, so that has to be looked at carefully.”

Fassone added: “We will bring the data to the chamber and point out Milan of today must pay for the errors of the club from 2014 to 2017, when there was a completely different owner.” – AFP

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