Lausanne (AFP) – The world’s top sports court on Friday overturned a European ban imposed on AC Milan for violating UEFA’s financial fair play rules, calling the punishment “not proportionate.”
UEFA banned Milan from playing in next season’s Europa League citing the club’s failure to meet the “break-even requirement,” which bars clubs from taking on debt to fund daily operations.
But the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that “some important elements have not been properly assessed,” by UEFA judges.
The court agreed with UEFA’s assessment that the club was in breach of break-even rules but found that the “current financial situation of the club was now better following the recent change in the club’s ownership.”
“The decision…. to exclude AC Milan from the UEFA Club Competition was not proportionate,” a CAS statement said.
CAS referred the case back to UEFA as requested by AC Milan, whose executives argued their appeal at the Lausanne-based court on Thursday.
The court “considers that the (UEFA’s) 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 statement said.
AC Milan have spent a troubled 15 months since they were bought by Chinese businessman Li Yonghong from Silvio Berlusconi in April 2017.
The takeover was partly funded by a high-interest loan of 300 million euros ($348 million) from American hedge fund Elliott Management.
When Milan failed to make a repayment at the start of July, Elliott moved to take over, a process which is due to be ratified by club shareholders on July 21.
The Chinese owners spent more than 200 million euros on players last summer and that, combined with the terms of the Elliott loan, triggered the interest of UEFA.
At the end of June, UEFA ruled that Milan were in breach of “the break-even requirement.”
AC Milan’s managing director Marco Fassone has blamed the club’s woes on Berlusconi.
But the Chinese ownership of the club was also clouded by questions over the source of Li’s wealth. In October The New York Times claimed that “virtually nobody” in China had ever heard of him.
Elliot, now in full control, has pledged to inject 50 million euros ($59 million) to bring financial stability to the seven-time European champions.
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
- Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
- Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Marseille name Croat Igor Tudor as new coach
- PSG tipped to finalise appointment of Galtier as coach
- Barcelona seal double swoop for Kessie, Christensen
- Work to be completed well before World Cup: organisers
- Switzerland to Salford: Four days of groundhopping across Europe
- Phillips makes ‘dream’ move from Leeds to Man City
- Man Utd agree deal to sign Eriksen: reports
- Ronaldo misses Man Utd training for ‘family reasons’: reports
- Fulham sign Palhinha from Sporting Lisbon
- Jesus wants to emulate boyhood hero Henry after sealing Arsenal move