Italian giants AC Milan have been banned from European football for one year for breaching Financial Fair Play regulations.
Milan had qualified for the group stages of this season’s Europa League after finishing sixth in Serie A.
The Italian club was owned by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi from 1986 until it was sold to a Chinese consortium for 740m euros (£648m) in April 2017.
The club then went on a £200m spending spree in the summer, bringing in Leonardo Bonucci from Juventus for £35.1m and Andre Silva from FC Porto for £33.6m. It was the first time since 2002 the club had broken the £30m barrier for a player.
The decision could be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The statement said the club are “ready to pay for the errors made in the past” and “have the utmost respect for the rules, but we expect equality”.
“The Adjudicatory Chamber of the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB), chaired by José Narciso da Cunha Rodrigues, has taken a decision in the case of the club AC Milan that had been referred to it by the CFCB Chief Investigator for the breach of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations, in particular the break-even requirement,” Uefa said in a statement.
“The club is excluded from participating in the next UEFA club competition for which it would otherwise qualify in the next two (2) seasons (i.e. one competition in 2018/19 or 2019/20, subject to qualification).
“This decision may be appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, in accordance with Article 34(2) of the Procedural rules governing the UEFA Club Financial Control Body, as well as Articles 62 and 63 of the UEFA Statutes.”
Fiorentina will take up Milan’s place in the competition, having finished just outside the Europa League places in Serie A.