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Stalled



I like to believe that Yonghong Li wanted to create a legacy for himself at Milan. And he seemed to want to help the growth of football in China, too. But instead, he will be remembered as the guy who held Milan’s mercato hostage twice trying to buy the club, then brought everything at the club to a screeching halt when he defaulted on his loans from Elliott Management. Between the European ban and subsequent appeal and the red tape that comes along with any change in management, Milan have just stalled.

Amazing how one person can cripple an entire club

While UEFA originally said our ban from the Europa League was due to failure to break even in the last three years of Berlusconi’s ownership, when they released the supporting documentation, it became quite clear that they were far more worried about the current Milan. One was Yonghong Li’s use of a hedge fund to finance the purchase of the club. Not just the debt itself, but also the stipulations in the contract that allowed members of the hedge fund to sit as advisors to the board. They had said this all along, and thus brought up the refinancing every time they spoke to Fassone.

Secondly was Fassone’s business plan. They called it “unrealistic” and they especially didn’t like that it kept changing the latter part of the year as expectations were failing to be reached. While Fassone claimed this was necessary, UEFA imposed the ban. Despite the fact that we were originally cited for the failure to break even, it seems that UEFA were far more concerned with not just our future, but the here and now.

Berlusconi is as much to blame as Yonghong Li

Milan is set to appeal to the CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport) on Thursday. If somehow we win our appeal, then we will have Europa League come September. Waiting for the original decision and now the appeal has impeded our progress in the mercato.  If we don’t win the appeal, we won’t have Europa League. So thanks to Fassone, and more implicitly Yonghong Li, when it comes to preparing for our season, Milan are stalled.

The bigger interruption for Milan is Yonghong Li defaulting on his loan. First we were waiting for a new majority or minority shareholder, after about a year of looking for refinancing on hedge fund loan. So we waited and waited while David Han Li met with potential investors. But just like during the sale of the club, Yonghong Li couldn’t come to an agreement with other investors. So we waited and waited until his short term loan deadline passed.

I wish it were just a strange dream, but Milan are still living the nightmare

Although Elliott Management immediately took over the club on paper, now we have to wait for the shareholders meeting this Saturday for them to actually have authority to do anything. And after that we have to wait and see if they put in new management. And after that, maybe we can see about making some moves in the mercato. Yonghong Li has literally brought Milan to a standstill, while other clubs are nearly done with their transfers for the summer, strengthening their teams while we sit helpless.

Yonghong Li’s legacy won’t even be a joke or a bizarre choice that was made by Berlusconi, the Lega Serie A, and the FIGC to allow him to purchase the club. It will be that one man was able to impact the rebuilding of Milan, first for eleven months, and then again during a very important point in our rebuilding. People argue that an owner doesn’t have that much power over a club, But Yonghong Li has kept Milan in his quiet, polite strangle hold for too long now. And like a car that has been driving on empty for too long, Milan have completely stalled.


This post inspired by the music of Alice in Chain’s “Man in the Box”