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Report: AC Milan to lose Europa League spot over Financial Fair Play

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AC Milan’s loss could prove to be another Serie A side’s gain, as UEFA has ruled against the Rossoneri.

The New York Times is reporting that AC Milan will be ruled out of next season’s UEFA Europa League after failing to comply with Financial Fair Play rules.

If Milan’s spot in the competition is in fact stripped, Italy’s eighth place finisher — Atalanta — would take their spot in the 2018/19 Europa League.

Milan owner Yonghong Li has faced scrutiny from UEFA since taking over the club last April, and received further backlash after spending over $266 million this past season on player transactions.

Report: AC Milan facing Europa League ban

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The New York Times’ Tariq Panja is reporting that UEFA may boot AC Milan from the upcoming season’s Europa League on the grounds of Financial Fair Play.

AC Milan spent big last season, spending around $20 million-plus each on eight players plus significant “loan to buy” fees on two more.

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That outlay helped the Serie A club to a deep Europa League run and sixth place in the domestic table, but AC Milan may not be able to feast on its European spoils.

After scrutinizing the club’s finances for several months, UEFA announced last week that the club had failed to convince officials that it is on sound financial footing and referred the case to the adjudicatory chamber of its financial control unit to recommend an appropriate punishment.

Milan bought Leonardo Bonuccia, Andre Silva, Andrea Conti, Hakan Calhanoglu, Mateo Musacchio, Ricardo Rodriguez, and Lucas Biglia last season, also adding Franck Kessie and Nikola Kalinic in expensive loan deals which become purchases this season and next.

Now it could lose any number of those players and more if the UEL expulsion is complete.

LIVE, Europa League final: Marseille v. Atletico Madrid

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The UEFA Europa League final takes place in Lyon, France on Wednesday (kick off, 2:45 p.m. ET) with Marseille and Atletico Madrid clashing for the second-biggest trophy in European club soccer.

[ LIVE: Europa League final ]

Atletico are the overwhelming favorites but Marseille have rode a wave of positivity towards the final as they aim to become the first French club to win a major European club trophy since they won the European Cup back in 1993. Although Paris Saint-Germain did win the now defunct UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup in 1995-95, it must be noted…

Marseille lost in the Europa League final (then known as the UEFA Cup) in 1999 and 2004 but the Ligue 1 side are hoping mercurial playmaker Dimitri Payet can deliver the goods, along with top scorer Florian Thauvin, a few hundred miles from home in what would be a big shock.

Victory would secure Marseille a place in the UEFA Champions League group stage next season with the French giants currently out of the UCL qualification spots in the French top-flight with one game to go.

Diego Simeone will not be able to coach his Atletico Madrid team from the sidelines in the final after his antics in the first leg of their semifinal victory against Arsenal and although Atleti have already secured their spot in the Champions League next season via a top four finish in La Liga, this is a competition they love after winning it in 2010 and 2012.

Antoine Griezmann is the danger man for Atleti (who lost to Real Madrid in both the 2014 and 2016 UCL finals) with the French international striker looking to end the season on a high back in his homeland, while Diego Costa will be sniffing around for goals, and trouble, as per usual…

Click on the link above to follow all the action from the Groupama Stadium live, while we will have analysis and reaction from the final right here on Pro Soccer Talk.


Which Champions League group stage slots are already sewn up?

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The seasons of Europe are winding down, and we know more than a few names who will automatically qualify for the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League group stages.

Joining the holders — Real Madrid or Liverpool — will be the champions of the Top Ten rated leagues in Europe, as well as six runners-up from associations, four third-placed teams from associations 1–4, four fourth-placed teams from associations 1–4, and the Europa League title holders.

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Some notes:

*If the UCL winner qualifies via the league, then the Czech Republic’s (11th overall) champion makes the group stage.

#If the UEL winner qualifies via the league, then France’s (5th overall) third-place team makes it.

UCL Champion: Real Madrid or Liverpool
UEL Champion: Atletico Madrid or Marseille

Top Four from England
Man City
Manchester United
Tottenham Hotspur
Liverpool and/or Chelsea

Top Four from Germany
Bayern Munich
(Two of) Borussia Dortmund, Hoffenheim, Bayer Leverkusen, RB Leipzig

Top Four from Spain
Atletico Madrid
Real Madrid

Top Four from Italy
(Two of) Roma, Lazio, Inter Milan

Top 2-3 from France#
Paris Saint-Germain
(Two or three of) Lyon, Monaco, Marseille#

Top Two from Russia
Lokomotiv Moscow
Spartak Moscow, CSKA Moscow, or Krasnodar

Portugal: Porto
Ukraine: Shakhtar Donetsk or Dynamo Kyiv
Belgium: Club Brugge, Standard Liege, or Anderlecht
Turkey: Galatasaray, Fenerbahce, Basaksehir, or Besiktas
Czech Republic*: Viktoria Plzen or Slavia Praha

Europa League live: Arsenal aims to overthrow Atleti in Spain

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Arsene Wenger and his side settled for a less-than-ideal first leg result at the Emirates Stadium, leaving the Gunners in a precarious position as they head to Spain in the UEFA Europa League.

Arsenal will meet Atletico Madrid in their second leg semifinals clash on Thursday, as one of the two sides seeks a place in the final.

[ MORE: Liverpool players to face Real “with confidence” in UCL final ]

The two clubs are currently level at 1-1 on aggregate, however, Antoine Griezmann’s vital away goal in the first leg has Atleti sitting in a comfortable position, especially after the visitors went down to 10 men early on in London.

The task won’t be an easy one for Arsenal, who needs at least one away goal of their own to advance.

Atletico boasts one of the top back lines in Europe, having conceded just 18 goals all season in domestic play, which ranks the lowest of any club in the top five divisions across the continent.

Meanwhile, in the other semifinal, Marseille has one foot into the final with a 2-0 lead over Red Bull Salzburg as the two teams head to Austria for the second leg.

The Ligue 1 side is unbeaten in its last six matches across all competitions, while pulling to within two points of second place in the French top flight.

It’s far from an impossibility that Red Bull can provide another comeback though this round, after having previously overturned a 4-2 deficit against Lazio in the quarterfinals with a 6-5 aggregate victory.