AC Milan fires Boban after interview in latest club upheaval

MILAN (AP) — AC Milan announced the firing of chief football officer Zvonimir Boban on Saturday — the latest upheaval involving the club’s management since Silvio Berlusconi sold the club in 2017.

The move comes following an interview that Boban gave to the Gazzetta dello Sport in which he questioned the direction of the club under the U.S.-based hedge fund Elliott.

“AC Milan confirms that it has informed Zvonimir Boban of the termination of his contract as chief football officer of the club with immediate effect,” the seven-time European champion said in a statement. “The club thanks Zvonimir for his service to the club over the past nine months, and wishes him all the best for his future professional career.”

Elliott took control of Milan in 2018 after Li Yonghong missed a deadline to repay part of a loan worth more than 300 million euros ($350 million) that it had used to purchase the club from Berlusconi for $800 million in April 2017.

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In order to avoid UEFA financial fair play penalties this season, Milan voluntarily withdrew from the Europa League.

“The club’s ambition remains to return to the top tier of European Football, while investing responsibly in the team in compliance with UEFA Financial Fair Play,” Milan said.

In the Gazzetta interview, Boban called for more communication from Elliott “for the good of the club.

“It needs to be precise in terms of the budget and goals,” Boban said. “We don’t know what our margins are.”

Boban also accused Milan CEO Ivan Gazidis of secretly contacting German coach Ralf Rangnick about taking over as Milan manager from next season.

“It’s disrespectful and not the Milan style,” said Boban, who helped Milan win four Serie A titles as a player, as well as the 1994 Champions League.

Boban left his job as deputy secretary general of FIFA to rejoin Milan last year.

“We thank Zvone for his efforts over the past nine months and wish him well in his future endeavors,” Gazidis said. “We must now turn our attention to football and the important games to come. (Coach) Stefano Pioli and his staff are doing an exceptional job growing the performances of the team every week and will have our full support as they continue this work, in what is a difficult time for the country.”

Milan is currently seventh in Serie A, which will resume playing with no fans present on Sunday due to the virus outbreak.

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