AC Milan are to lose their place in next season’s Europa League as UEFA remains unhappy with their finances, according to a report in the New York Times.
Last week it was announced that Milan could be barred from European competition for breaching financial fair play (FFP) rules after their case was referred to the adjudicatory chamber of UEFA’s club financial control body.
The report states that it has been recommended that Milan are removed from the Europa League, which would mean Atalanta take their place in the group stage while Fiorentina — who finished eighth last season — would then be entered in the second qualifying round.
Milan have been under UEFA’s microscope ever since Chinese investors Rossoneri Sport bought them for more than £600 million in April 2017, with the scrutiny increasing when they spent more than £200m on players last summer.
Owner Yonghong Li has until Monday to inject a further €10 million into the Serie A club to cover operating costs or risk defaulting on a €303 million loan from Elliott Management.
He then has just four more months to find the funds to repay that loan fully, or risk losing control of the Italian club he purchased just over a year ago from Silvio Berlusconi’s Fininvest group.
A decision from UEFA is expected on June 7, but it could arrive as late as June 22.
A source from Fiorentina confirmed to ESPN that they are currently planning their summer on two fronts in view of a possible admission into the Europa League second qualifying round, with the first legs on July 26.
Milan’s general manager Marco Fassone says he was “surprised and very disappointed” by UEFA’s decision to refer them to their adjudicatory chamber, putting them at risk of becoming the first club from one of Europe’s top five leagues to be excluded from Europe due to FFP.
Forward Fabio Borini, one of those 11 new arrivals last year, insists he would not quit the club if they are excluded.
“As far as I am concerned, no [I wouldn’t leave],” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport when asked if there would be an exodus of players. “In general, I don’t think so. It could be a situation which would unite us even more and then, sorry, but where would there be an exodus to? We’re at Milan.
“This is a club with history, and it is a family. It’s got a past with an enormous profile and a staff who take care of their players. You know that they like you, and I only ever had that feeling here and at Liverpool.”
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.