The soccer news starts with the club game in Europe, easy enough to overlook right now with the Women's World Cup, Gold Cup, Copa America, and Cup of Nations taking the spotlight. As brief as the offseason is on the other side of the Atlantic, there's no end to the issues across multiple leagues. The latest worth noticing is AC Milan going ahead and sitting out the Europa League.
Last week, the Serie A club announced that they would accept a Financial Fair Play sanction rather than continuing their appeals process. That means no Europa League for them this season. Roma takes Milan's automatic group stage place and Torino takes Roma's place in the qualifiers. This is one of the more high profile examples of a club accepting Financial Fair Play sanctions that costs them a European place rather than money. UEFA's punishments normally reduce the squad for European competitions and impose a fine. Milan's situation might point to a different approach moving forward, but with so many things involving Financial Fair Play that's tough to tell.
At the same time, Chelsea is sitting out two transfer windows due to violations over their handling of youth players. Well known for signing players and loaning them out, Chelsea's approach needed a radical revamp as they face that two window suspension. That included turning their loan deal for Mateo Kovacic into a permanent move by paying Real Madrid over $50m on June 30. A day later, and that deal wouldn't have happened with Kovacic's registration returning to Real Madrid.
Chelsea is not the first major European club to have to sit out transfer windows over UEFA violations. The strategy is already set. Spend big when you can and ride out the ban before spending big all over again.
Both of these examples should raise questions about UEFA disciplinary procedures. It's another facet of the game with similar strategies. Would Milan have offered to sit out a European season had they qualified for the Champions League instead of the Europa League? What does a club facing a transfer ban spending more now than they might have mean for the market for players?
Also in the soccer news, Emerson Hyndman will join Atlanta United on loan from Bournemouth. "We're excited to bring a talented young player like Emerson in to bolster our midfield," Atlanta United technical director Carlos Bocanegra said. "In addition to his technical, on-the-ball abilities, he performed well in two physically-demanding leagues in the Scottish Premiership and English Championship."
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