Serie A giants AC Milan will not play in Europe this season, despite finishing fifth in Serie A last season, which qualified them to enter the Europa League at the group stages.
However, the club, which has announced losses of £126million for the 2017-18 campaign, have fallen foul of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules.
As a result Milan and its owners Elliot Management, have essentially swapped Financial Fair Play breaches for a season out of European competition.
A ruling by the Court of Arbitration for Sport confirmed the decision. In it, it said:
‘AC Milan is excluded from participating in the UEFA Club Competitions of the sporting season 2019-20 as a consequence of the breach of FFP break-even obligations during the 2015-16, 2016-17 and the 2016-17, 20-17-18 monitoring periods.’
Milan have ‘accepted’ their exclusion from the Europa League and believe it will act as ‘a stimulus to restoring the club to its rightful place.’
“The current shareholder took ownership of the Club in July 2018, inheriting substantial accumulated losses after the previous owner of AC Milan defaulted on debt obligations.
“These losses and the associated violation of FFP rules, as a consequence of actions taken under previous ownership, led to sanctions by UEFA.
“Whilst saddened by the fact that our fans will not be able to see their team compete in European competition next season, the Club recognises and respects FFP.
“The Club acknowledges it has no other choice but to accept the sanctions, as it seeks to forge a pathway back to full compliance.
“AC Milan remains committed to restoring the Club to its rightful place at the top of European football.
As a result, Roma will now enter the group stages. Torino will now enter the play-off rounds.
The decision leaves new boss Marco Giampaolo, who took over from Gennaro Gattuso last week, to focus solely on a domestic front.
Milan are one of the most decorated clubs in European football. They have won the European Cup seven times, a figure beaten only by Real Madrid, and 18 Serie A titles, second only to Juventus.
The club are synonymous with some of the greatest players of all time, including Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi, Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit.
But it remains to be seen whether the stars of the current squad, including Polish striker Krzysztof Piatek and young goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, will be content with no European football next season.