Milan to play Luxembourg newcomer in Europa League group
Milan, which won a Court of Arbitration for Sport appeal to overturn expulsion for breaking financial rules, was drawn Friday into a group with newcomer Dudelange. The group also includes Olympiakos and Real Betis.
In a September 1972 trip to Luxembourg, Milan beat Red Boys Differdange 4-1 to start its run to the European Cup-Winners’ Cup title.
Going to Azerbaijan to play Qarabag on Oct. 4 could be problematic for Arsenal forward Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who is Armenian. Azerbaijan and Armenia are in a territorial dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, and were unable to play their games in a 2008 European Championship qualifying group.
“It is a standard procedure for UEFA to send letters of support to associations, clubs or embassies in order to obtain visa for players in order to be able to travel to another country and play in UEFA competition matches,” the European soccer body said in a statement after the draw.
The final will be played in Baku, Azerbaijan, on May 29. The same stadium will also host Euro 2020 games.
Chelsea, the 2013 Europa League champion, was drawn into a group with PAOK Thessaloniki, BATE Borisov and Vidi, while five-time champion Sevilla will play Krasnodar, Standard Liege and Akhisar Belediyespor.
Red Bull owned both clubs until they were entered in the Champions League last season. Before Salzburg was eliminated in the qualifying rounds, the company persuaded UEFA in June 2017 it had divested its Salzburg stake to avoid breaking competition integrity rules on conflicts of interest.
Five years after it last played in the Champions League, Milan can aim to return to the elite competition with the automatic group-stage place given to Europa League winners.
Milan’s recent slump in Serie A meant it missed several years of Champions League revenues. The club spent more than $200 million on players last year under new Chinese owners and failed to comply with UEFA rules monitoring transfer fees and wages.
UEFA’s attempt to ban Milan from its competitions for one season was overturned in court in July.
Milan’s decline in Europe meant it dropped into the draw pot of second-seeded teams on Friday.