Milan banned from Europa League for 1 year for overspending

FILE - In this May 9, 2018 file photo, AC Milan's Patrick Cutrone, center, is challenged by Juventus' Andrea Barzagli, left, and Juventus' Juan Cuadrado during the Italian Cup final soccer match between Juventus and AC Milan, at the Rome Olympic stadium. The Italian league told The Associated Press on Wednesday, June 6, 2018, that the first match of the series will be held in January, between Serie A champion Juventus and Italian Cup finalist AC Milan. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia, file)

MILAN (AP) UEFA banned AC Milan from European competition for one year on Wednesday for overspending on player transfers and wages in one of the toughest sentences handed down for breaching financial fair play regulations.

Milan will be excluded from next season’s Europa League unless an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport is successful.

A statement announcing the club’s appeal said the breach occurred ”in the three-year period between July 2014 and June 2017” – before its spending spree.

Milan spent more than 200 million euros last year (then nearly $250 million) on new players amid questions over the financial stability of the Chinese-led consortium that purchased the club from Silvio Berlusconi for $800 million in April 2017.

It finished sixth in Serie A and qualified for the Europa League.

UEFA rejected both a voluntary agreement at the end of last year and a settlement agreement last month.

”The Adjudicatory Chamber of the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) … has taken a decision in the case of AC Milan that had been referred to it by the CFCB Chief Investigator for the breach of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations, in particular the break-even requirement,” UEFA’s statement said.

”The club is excluded from participating in the next UEFA club competition for which it would otherwise qualify in the next two seasons (i.e. one competition in 2018/19 or 2019/20.”

Atalanta, which finished seventh, looks set to take Milan’s Europa League place, with Fiorentina entering at the second qualifying round.

Fiorentina announced on Wednesday it had brought the start of its pre-season training forward by two days, to July 2.

The first leg of the second qualifying round is scheduled for July 26.