Marco Fassone reacted to the news that UEFA have said ‘no’ to a Settlement Agreement with Milan, saying this caught the management by surprise.
UEFA have confirmed earlier on Tuesday that Milan are in breach of the Financial Fair Play rules and that there are no grounds for a Settlement Agreement, explaining their decision was made because of “uncertainties in relation to the refinancing of the loan and notes to be paid back in October 2018. “
This is a difficult blow for Milan and the new management, as they could face serious punishments: from big fines and squad restrictions to a transfer ban and a Europa League exclusion. After learning about the news, CEO Marco Fassone spoke to the press to express his disappointment.
“It seems important for Milan to take a clear position after reading the UEFA statement,” Fassone said to reporters outside of the Lega Serie A offices. “As you can imagine, that gave us surprise and a lot of bitterness, I was expecting UEFA to offer us a Settlement Agreement.
“Since Fair Play is in force, UEFA always offered such solution to all the clubs in a situation similar to that of Milan. There was only one case of a Russian team, not really a top-team, that was referred to the Adjudicatory Chamber immediately without UEFA offering a Settlement Agreement.
“We went to UEFA 15 days after the closing and then therefore at a very early stage to submit our plans. We went back in November last year to discuss the Voluntary Agreement to which we were entitled to because the ownership was changed during 2017 but our request was rejected as the commission deemed it necessary to see a €165m bank guarantee to be issued by the ownership.
“Today the Settlement Agreement has not been granted to us because, the fact that the holding company [and not the Club] has not yet refinanced the debt with Elliott casts some doubts on the Club’s possible future after October 2018. An absolutely precautionary hypothesis that raises doubts about what could be the scenario and that absolutely does not take into account that we have repeatedly proposed: ie to talk also with the current financier of the holding company, that is Elliott, that has also guaranteed in writing a continuity of the Club even in the worst scenario.
“But, above all, considering this year’s history with the continuous fulfillment by Milan’s ownership of all the requests made by the board of directors, the continuous capital increases paid regularly that have never generated any potential doubt about both solvency and liquidity.
“I am disappointed because, as Milan’s CEO, I know that we did everything we could possibly do. We submitted very detailed plans and dossiers, but UEFA has some doubts relevant to other aspects. From tomorrow morning our lawyers will start analysing the ruling because the is no doubt that the referral to the Adjudicatory Chamber is an important damage at least of the Club’s image and therefore we will review it with great attention. We are absolutely confident about the Adjudicatory Chamber’s balanced assessment and we will supply all the necessary data with the greatest transparency possible and with the utmost good faith. As we have always done.
“I wish to remind you that today’s AC Milan is paying for the breaches occurred in the three-year period 2014-2017 when there was a different ownership, and that it has given its availability to pay the same sanctions that all the other clubs in similar situations received.
“The referral to the Adjudicatory Chamber disappointed us a lot because this Club deserved the Settlement Agreement due to its behavior at a financial level, a settlement agreement that, unfortunately, hasn’t arrived. We are running this club in a very healthy and balanced way.”
There remains to be seen what will happen now, but it’s obvious that the preparations of the Diavolo for next season will now be put on hold until the situation becomes clearer in all aspects.