AC Milan have been banned from next season's Europa League as punishment for the club's breaches of UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations dating back to 2015. The ban was part of a deal agreed between the club and UEFA which sees it avert a longer exclusion from European competition, whilst gaining some breathing space to get its finances into more 'FFP compliant' order after being taken over by an American hedge fund last year. The compromise also allows UEFA to show that it is enforcing the FFP regulations after some doubted its appetite for doing so.
But reports suggest that the club actually requested the ban as part of the deal with UEFA, and some doubt whether the club would have been so willing to accept a season out of Europe had it qualified for the more prestigious and lucrative Champions' League next season rather than the second-tier Europa League. Whilst it will undoubtedly lose European revenue, the ban might actually benefit Milan on the pitch as fewer fixtures might boost their domestic competitiveness and help their quest for qualification for the following season's Champions' League.
It will now be interesting to see whether UEFA seeks similar compromises with clubs such as Manchester City whose FFP compliance it is also investigating, but who almost certainly wouldn't readily accept a season-long ban from the Champions' League.
AC Milan banned from Europa League next season over Financial Fair Play breaches