AC Milan has escaped harsher Financial Fair Play punishments with the ruling handed down by UEFA on Friday. The European governing body announced that Milan’s punishment is highlighted by a one-year European ban in the 2022/23 and 2023/24 seasons, but that punishment is suspended and will not be imposed unless the club fails to break even over the course of the next 2.5 seasons through June of 2021.
UEFA also included a $13.5 million “fine” plus a European play squad restriction, both of which are imposed immediately. AC Milan will have that monetary sum withheld from its total European tournament prize haul, and the club will be restricted to a 21-player squad in Europe for the next two full seasons. The squad restriction is probably the harshest part of the punishment, leaving them with less wiggle room than the usual 25-player submission to account for injuries and mid-tournament player transactions.
Milan also escaped without a transfer ban, another possible punishment for clubs who breach Financial Fair Play rules.
The decision comes after UEFA handed down a rigid two-year European ban last summer, but the club appealed the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport and won. The Court’s decision, which came this past July, said that the club’s finances had greatly improved under new ownership, and as such, they required a “proportionate disciplinary measure.”
The new ruling says the club can again appeal the decision, if they wish.
Milan was initially flagged for breaching FFP rules after spending a massive $200 million in the summer of 2017 under Chinese owner Li Yonghong, bringing in players like Leonardo Bonucci, Andre Silva, Hakan Calhanoglu, and Lucas Biglia, among others. Yonghong was forced to sell after he failed to make a loan payment, and the club was taken over by U.S. hedge fund Elliott Management Corporation.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has issued his verdict on Paul Pogba taking (and missing) an ill-fated penalty over Marcus Rashford on Monday in a 1-1 draw against Wolves at the Molineux.
[ MORE: Recap | Nuno reacts ]
The Manchester United boss says both players have been given authority to sort out who takes a penalty (He promises. He has proof on his computer).
Pogba won Monday’s opportunity, and his well-hit effort was parried by Rui Patricio. the score stayed tied, and United didn’t find a winner.
“The two of them are designated penalty takers, it’s up to them there and then – ‘this is mine’.
“Sometimes players just feel they are confident to score. Paul has scored so many for us and today it was a good save. You can see the slides on the Power Point [that prove both are PK takers].
“The two of them have been confident before. Marcus scored last week but Paul was also confident. I like players with confidence.”
As for Rashford, he’s not crying over Pogba’s spilled penalty.
“Paul wanted to take it, it’s that simple,” says Rashford. “Anyone can miss a penalty, he has scored so many penalties and it is normal to miss one.”
Instead, he’s finding a silver lining in a “disappointing” loss by focusing on the fact that United was absolutely worked over at the Molineux last season and arguably deserved all three points this go-round (Wolves beat United 2-1 that day).
“It is of course disappointing, disheartening, but we can’t let it get to ourselves early in the season,” Rashford said. “The last time we came to the stadium they were the much better team, but today was a different story. It has always been a tough place to come and today proved it again.”
United hosts Crystal Palace on Saturday before visiting Southampton on Aug. 31.
Nuno Espirito Santo issued the definitive quote of the VAR era after Wolves’ equalizer withstood video review in a 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Monday at the Molineux.
“I was hoping to stay happy.”
[ RECAP: Wolves 1-1 Man Utd ]
Espirito Santo saw VAR dramatically play a role in Wolves fortunes for the second-straight week, and the manager was not too happy with it on opening weekend when Willy Boly‘s handball was found to have assisted Leander Dendoncker‘s goal.
This time, VAR held up its end of the bargain in Wolves favor, as the cross that led to Ruben Neves’ incredible goal was found to be onside. From the BBC:
“I don’t know how they will solve it – it’s the emotion, you celebrate a goal so much and then you stay in silence. Don’t take that away from the people.”
The problem, of course, is money. So much is riding on qualifying for Europe, staying in the Premier League, etc. When sports became a big business, and managers aren’t complaining about their salaries, the science overtook the spirit.
Espirito Santo is correct that the wait to confirm a goal takes away from the joy of sport. It also will deny of us of the next “Hand of God” (and England would not have won its lone World Cup had goal line technology been around).
But ultimately, it will keep the correct score on the board. And that matters.
Ruben Neves scored an amazing goal and Rui Patricio stopped a Paul Pogba penalty as Wolves took a point from Manchester United in a 1-1 match at the Molineux on Monday.
[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]
United had two-thirds possession but could not find what would’ve been a deserved winner as Wolves flummoxed the Red Devils attack.
Anthony Martial scored for the second-straight match for United, who failed in a bid to go atop the Premier League.
Three things we learned
- Paul Pogba is to penalties as Shaquille O’Neal is to free throws – You just can’t understand how someone so good at his sport is so poor at what should be the easiest part of his game.
- Martial is a beauty, and is fully released from the shackles of Jose Mourinho. Whether he can take the next step is another story, but the Frenchman is a fitting winger for a Champions League club (even if United isn’t quite in the UCL).
- Patricio didn’t show the Premier League his very best last season, but has looked more like the Portugal national team goalkeeper so far in his sophomore PL campaign.
Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men were content to let the visitors have the ball and work on the counter, and United quickly moved the ball in possession over the first stages of the game.
United took a deserved lead through Martial who ran onto a Marcus Rashford through ball and belted a rocket over a flailing Rui Patricio.
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
Neves brought Wolves level with a sublime bit of shooting, curling a majestic shot above and around the United back line to make it 1-1.
Watching the footage as it was being reviewed showed the margins so thin, but the goal held up and anyone hoping for some semblance of sanity was relieved.
United looked set to go back in front when Pogba drew a penalty off Conor Coady with a cutthroat move in the 18, but the Frenchman slammed his effort into the path of a diving Patricio.
Let us introduce you to your latest Goal of the Season contender.
Ruben Neves, who seemingly only scores beauties, struck again on Monday at the Molineux.
[ MORE: Neymar to Barca ]
The 22-year-old Portuguese playmaker loves to shoot as much as anyone, and set himself up clinically for his latest amazing marker.
Once Neves collected the ball atop the 18, he spun this magnificent effort over the flying David De Gea and off the underside of the bar to restore the deadlock in Wolverhampton.
De Gea may well have responded to this goal by quoting Ron Burgundy when Baxter ate the entire wheel of cheese.