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AC Milan's Europa League ban appeal set for Thursday

© AFP/File | The acquisition of a raft of players, including Leonardo Bonucci, Mateo Musacchio and Fabio Borini, helped put AC Milan in breach of UEFA's break-even requirement and led to a ban.

LAUSANNE (AFP) - 

AC Milan's appeal against a European ban for breaking UEFA's financial fair play rules will be heard Thursday by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the court announced.

A spokesman for the Lausanne-based court told AFP that the hearing will be at 9:30 am (0730 GMT) and a decision would follow "probably within 24 hours".

Last month European football's governing body UEFA banned Milan from the Europa League for the coming season.

AC Milan have spent a troubled 15 months since they were bought by Chinese businessman Li Yonghong from Silvio Berlusconi in April 2017. The takeover was partly funded by a high-interest loan of 300 million from American hedge fund Elliott Management.

When Milan failed to make a repayment at the start of July, Elliott moved to take over, a process which is due to be ratified by club shareholders on July 21.

The Chinese owners spent more than 200 million euros on players last summer and that, combined with the terms of the Elliott loan, triggered the interest of UEFA.

At the end of June, UEFA ruled that Milan were in breach of "the break-even requirement." That specifically bars clubs from taking on debt to fund day-to-day obligations such as wages or transfer fees. UEFA banned the club from its competitions.

Despite the investment in players, the club finished sixth in Serie A and only qualified for the Europa League, Europe's second tier tournament.

The club at once said they would appeal to CAS.

In April, after a meeting at UEFA's headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, Marco Fassone, appointed CEO after Li's takeover, said Berlusconi's mismanagement was to blame.

"The people who were in charge of the club before us did not respect the rules, because we are under investigation for 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17," Fassone said.

The seven-time European champions are the biggest club to have been punished under the fair play rules.

Malaga, Red Star Belgrade and Galatasaray have all been banned for a year.

UEFA indicated on July 3 that it was reopening a financial fair play case against big-spending French champions Paris Saint-Germain.

© 2018 AFP