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FFP: Bullet Dodged



I know we as Milan fans are supposed to be sorrowful and mourning our exit of the Europa League for next season. Certainly, UEFA’s statement was nothing short of harshly punitive and malicious. But while UEFA thinks they “won” the FFP battle that they waged unfairly, compared to other clubs, Milan just got four years worth of FFP violations wiped clean just for stepping out of a competition we did not want or need to be in. Bullet dodged.

Europa League needs Milan more than Milan needs the Europa League

First of all, it begs repeating: why were Milan denied a voluntary or settlement agreement in the first place? Okay if they didn’t want to give it to Yonghong Li, even though he was as deserving as any other new owner. But what about the Elliott Fund? You know, that thing that UEFA reportedly feared that Yonghong Li’s tenure would lead to? Yet they have made the club debt free and have made wise purchases in the mercato to reinforce and improve the team. They are also doing the most anyone has done to generate new revenue and balance our books. So why not give them the same opportunity every other new owner gets from UEFA? That literally would have prevented all of this wasted time and all of the ridiculous lawyer fees and everything. It’s as though UEFA want people to know that the actual acronym is Financial Foul Play.

Secondly, if the CAS overturned their initial two year ban, why is UEFA gloating and acting vindicated over Milan offering to take a one year ban, in lieu of UEFA running down our FFP clock and trying to come up with a punishment that was fair? They knew that the CAS was going to overturn their December decision, that’s why they were willing to talk to Milan in the first place. This is just another indication of UEFA making complete fools of themselves.

Less a governing body and more a popularity contest

I was so proud to read Milan’s official statement about the CAS Consent Award. Simple, straightforward, acknowledging that the FFP violations were from previous ownerships, yet being respectful toward UEFA and FFP. Classy.

Meanwhile, UEFA’s official release was shockingly juvenile and unprofessional. Not only did they rehash the whole saga with no mention of denying Milan’s multiple requests for voluntary or settlement agreements, they also failed to mention that they were dropping all charges for the years 2014-2018 as the CAS reported they must. This was literally points one, two, and four of the CAS statement. Then they went even further to say, “UEFA is satisfied that it is now acknowledged by AC Milan and confirmed by CAS that AC Milan's failure to be break-even compliant must lead to a severe sanction.”

UEFA's new babysitter, apparently

Where to even begin with that statement? First of all, Milan always acknowledged UEFA, why do you think we spent so much money on lawyers to keep running back and forth, first to UEFA, then to the CAS? And speaking of acknowledging, what says “acknowledging” more than offering a club a voluntary or settlement agreement? But like a child who thinks they’ve won, their statement offered much less information and so much more vindication. So embarrassing for a football governing body, really. And meanwhile, legendary clubs like Palermo continue to be mismanaged and reportedly will have to file for bankruptcy. You know, that thing FFP is meant to prevent?  But yeah, UEFA, let’s focus on a club that is working tirelessly to comply with FFP, then scream to the sky about how you were right. Classy.

The biggest irony is that UEFA lost. Having Milan in the Europa League makes them more money, period. How will they balance their budgets if they keep treating clubs like Milan so unfairly? Meanwhile, Milan got four years of FFP violations cleared by bowing out of one year of competition in their inferior league. That’s a year where Milan have a chance to rebuild, finally, without worrying about what UEFA are going to say this time or how long we have to wait for their next erratic decision. A year with fewer games, fewer injuries, and more time to focus on Serie A. Exactly what Milan have been needing.

The joke's on you, Cefarin. Might wanna rethink FFP...

So Milan got out of four years of FFP non-compliance, including the Yonghong Li year, the worst year in the red ever for our club. That includes any and all punishments from UEFA, whether deemed fair by the CAS or not. We also got out of playing in a third competition next year, at a crucial time for the club when we need to focus on a top four Serie A result. This is also a big advantage over our opponents competing in Europe. Meanwhile, UEFA got “acknowledged,” and demonstrated how petty and vindictive they really are. Disturbing. For anyone who thinks Milan lost in this deal, I say bullet dodged.


This post inspired by the music of twenty one pilots’ “Ride”