The Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) confirmed on Friday that AC Milan have withdrawn from next seasons Europa League after coming to an agreement with UEFA over Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.
Trouble off the pitch
Milan have been struggling to get themselves on an even keel after a serious spending spree from their previous owners. The clubs current major shareholders have been quick to point out that much of the damage was already done when they took over and from their point of view the agreement gives them more time to get things right off the pitch.
UEFA are believed to be satisfied with Milan's withdrawal as it shows that one of the major clubs are taking their FFP rules seriously. They also believe this action should be seen as a precedent to Europe's other major clubs, many of whom have been walking a financial tightrope themselves.
European football for Torino
While it's a clear blow to Milan, it is good news for two of Serie A's other clubs. Roma have been promoted and will now go directly to the group stages alongside rivals, Lazio. Torino, who finished seventh, will now take Roma's place in the Second Qualifying Round and will face either Debrecen of Hungary or Kukesi of Albania.
Torino's President, Urbano Cairo was delighted to receive a reprieve after an excellent season from his team but he was also sorry for Milan's loss.
“It’s very satisfying. I’m sorry for Milan, as I was a fan of theirs when I was a child, but it was a spectacular year for us, our best since I’ve been President and Torino’s best in the era of three points for a win,” the President told Sky Sport Italia.
“It would’ve been a real shame after that not to enter European competition. Walter Mazzarri gave this side an identity and we now speak every hour practically, let alone every day, to work out our plans and reinforce the squad,” said Cairo.
With Milan out and Torino in, Serie A will still have seven representatives in Europe. Torino fans will be delighted to be back in Europe just months after the 70th anniversary of their greatest sides passing in the Superga air disaster. Unfortunately for Milan, it has come at their expense and it is clear that before the Rossoneri can back to their best on the pitch, they need to resolve multiple issues off it.