Italian champions AC Milan have admitted that they are deeply concerned about their financial future after club president Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, was ordered to pay over half a billion euros in connection with a bribery case.
A court on Saturday decreed that Berlusconi's Fininvest company, which owns AC Milan, should pay rival media group CIR 560million euros after it bribed a judge to approve the takeover of publishing group Mondadori in 1990.
"This is something that greatly affects AC Milan," club vice-president Adriano Galliani said in the Italian press on Monday.
"This is serious, a crazy sum. Figures of this kind for damages? We have never seen this before in Europe."
Galliano did not go into details about the impact the fine would make on the club, which closed the last fiscal year with a deficit of about 60million euros, but it is likely to affect their summer recruitment policy.
"Milan is still in the heart of the president, he loves his baby," said Galliani.
"He bought the club from a bankruptcy tribunal (in 1986) and made it the most successful club in the world. I'm sure he will make every effort to keep it where it is now."
Berlusconi is due to be at the club's Milanello training ground on Tuesday.