Elliott’s commitment, positives, concerns and conclusions: Breaking down Milan’s 2020-21 accounts

By Rohit Rajeev -

The long-awaited accounts from AC Milan’s 2020-21 season have been published, after a campaign most notable for finally achieving a Champions League return and cutting losses to €95m from over double that amount in 2019-20.

Financial analyst Swiss Ramble broke down the numbers and spliced Milan’s accounts to delve into how they reached managed to cut their losses by over €100m, so we have highlighted some of the key points and listed the positives and negatives in layman’s terms.

The positives

➤ Milan’s revenues have increased from €172m to €241m, which is an increase of €69m.

➤ Milan’s TV revenue increased from €63m in the 2019-20 season to €138m in 2020-21.

➤ Commercial revenues (sponsorship deals, kit deals, advertisements etc.) increased from €77m to €94m.

➤ The Wages to Turnover Ratio (wages to turnover is calculated as what % of the total earnings of a club is given as wages) has decreased from 93% to 70%. This means that 70% of the money the club earns is given as wages for players and administrators.

➤ The Net transfer debt (Net transfer debt = money Milan gave to pay to clubs for transfers minus money Milan received from clubs for buying their players) is just €1m. This is a very healthy sign of how Milan have controlled their debts.

➤ Milan’s Net Interest (Net interest is the interest a club has to pay for the loans they have availed. For example when we take a loan from the bank we have to pay Interest) has been reduced €23m to only €5m per season.

➤ Player Amortisation (Amortisation is the yearly cost of a player’s transfer fee, which is the full fee spread over the length of their contract) has reduced from €95m to €66m.

➤ Player write downs (writing off losses) decreased from €18m to €2m (which is entirely the loss made on Mateo Musacchio).

The negatives

➤ Milan only made a profit of €18m in the transfer window during the 2020-21 season (€20m from Suso minus €2m loss from Musacchio).

➤ The Wage Bill increased by €9m, owing to bonuses paid by the club to the players upon achieving Champions League qualification. It went from €161m to €170m.

➤ EBITDA (Earnings before Interest Tax Depreciation and Amortisation) – considered a concrete metric to the real profitability of a business because it considers only the core operations of the business (revenue minus expenses like wages, losses in transfer market) is still €-15m. This is still a metric where Milan are one of the worst in Italy.

➤ Milan only made €17m from their Europa League performances last season despite making it to the Round of 16.

➤ Milan’s gross debt has increased by €10m owing to the bank loan availed by Elliott Management to buy Casa Milan

➤ Milan made €0m from Matchday Income (stadium ticket sales etc.) owing to matches being played behind closed doors. However, this season will mark a change since stadiums have been opened up for fans to attend games and Milan are expected to make up to €35m.

Areas to improve

➤ Milan’s transfer market activity needs to improve further if they have to make more pure capital gains. They average only €12m profit in the market ever since 2014.

➤ Milan need to consistently make it the Champions League, as their earnings from Europe have been paltry. While Milan only made €17m from Europe last season Inter made €50m, Lazio €54m, Atalanta €51m and Juventus €83m.

➤ Milan have the third-highest Commercial Revenue (i.e. sponsorships) but they are still a €100m behind Juventus. Milan earn only €13m per season from Emirates, which is lower from what Fiorentina get from Mediacom and Sassuolo make from Mapei (though they are also involved in the ownership structure there).

➤ Obviously it is not in the hands of the club, but the broadcasting revenue of the league needs a total revamp if they are to compete with the likes of Premier League and LaLiga, as you can see from the graph below.

Threats and Elliott’s commitment

Milan had agreed with UEFA to sit out a year from Europe in the 2019-20 season and as part of that they had to sign a Settlement Agreement where they will control their finances as per the parameters set up by UEFA.

UEFA asks clubs to cut down their losses to €30m within 3 years. However as per the calculation of Swiss Ramble, Milan have exceeded this by roundabout €273m. Milan have set a meeting with UEFA later in the season to discuss its finances, with the pandemic obviously owing to a lot of that.

A lot of criticism from fans have been directed towards Elliott for essentially a lack of throwing money into the transfer market.. However company accounts indicate that the American fund spent €130m on Milan last season and this has taken their gross spend on the club to almost €540m in the last three years.


Milan have made a real improvement ever since Elliott took charge and they have somewhat steadied the ship that they took control of only because Yonghong Li couldn’t repay his debts. They have somehow managed to balance on-field performances with financial stability thanks to strong figures in the management: technical director Paolo Maldini, sporting director Ricky Massara and CEO Ivan Gazidis.

However with absolutely no support from institutions like FIGC or even UEFA, Milan are more likely to stay the same with the large possibility of Premier League swallowing football on its own, which is why Florentino Perez and a group of other clubs proposed the European Super League.

Amanda Staveley – the co-owner of Newcastle United and part of PFI – stated in an interview that the infrastructure of Serie A is not an attractive proposition for investment which itself is a huge threat for Elliott, who are in the club only for the medium term.

The only positive factor seems to the approval for the stadium seems to have arrived and a design has been selected. Milan estimates about €70-80m revenue from the stadium alone, as well as not having to pay the council for rent.

Milan’s €95m isn’t even close to the highest loss in the league. Scudetto winners Inter recorded the highest ever loss in a single Serie A season at €246m, followed by Juventus with €213m, showing that the pressures of balancing revenues with expenses – especially as the dust settles after the pandemic – is virtually impossible.

READ MORE: Milan tried to sign full-back who is starring for Burkina Faso as Man City smile

Tags AC Milan


  1. Wow. You can clearly see the havoc of the Li-Fassone-Mirabelli transfer spending spree. Lesson to never spend so much in one window, never mind the integration of so many new players together. And also, look at that Atalanta profit/loss and in the top 4 for the last 4 seasons. Hats off to them.

    1. Would like a separate post about UEFA settlement with us.

      I thought we need to limit losses to 30m for this season.

      From the above its like we would need our cummulative losses for last 3 seasons to not be more than 30m which is IMPOSSIBLE.

      Does not make sense at all as we are already in stable situation, better than inter, roma, barcelona and atletico.

      1. Yeah, it was never realistic. But overall improvement is impressive and I’m sure they’ll cut a deal. UEFA need ACM, it’s a cash cow for them.

        A great article, btw, it’s a shame those who need to read it probably won’t. People literally saying we are too slow to turn things around when we’ve gone from systematically leaking 9 digits per year to within touching distance from break-even. Add UCL revenue, full-capacity stadiums and 1 or 2 better sponsorships, and we’re good.

  2. This shows the impact of Elliott. Everybody who tweets #Elliottout should first read this. We’re on the right path for a bright future. Let’s hope Inter and Juve will face their limits one day and go through the same ordeal as we did. UEFA needs to guarantee fair competition so they have to judge them equally.

    1. people that trust UEFA to judge everyone equally should do a run down of their last decade “equality” ordeals

      if you issue 200-300mil in bonds and UEFA gets a cut, you are considered healthier than if you have no debt and pay UEFA jack s

  3. Elliot fans can (always)smile, Elliot spend a little to get the maximum profit when reselling club.
    Victory on the pitch that attracts fans, not financial records.
    as long as Elliot at helm, we fans can’t expect big.
    we’ll see in the next 1-2 seasons, how many Elliot fans are left.

  4. Do you know that in terms of trophies we still better than arsenal fans still always have one pride as one of the richest even ahead of Milan. That’s what Milan is heading towards.

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