'Champions League failure would've been a disaster for Milan' - Gandini

The AC Milan director has expressed his concern at the financial implications should teams not manage to qualify for Europe's premier club competition.
AC Milan director Umberto Gandini has expressed his relief at the club’s Champions League qualification, suggesting that failure to secure a spot in the competition is now a "disaster" for Europe’s top clubs.

The Rossoneri sealed Italy's final qualification slot on the final day of the Serie A season with a 2-1 victory over Siena, a result that Gandini believes was hugely important to the club’s short-term future.

"Had we not qualified it would have been a financial disaster," he told BBC Sport. "Such a disaster could affect most clubs."

"We still have to navigate the play-offs," he continued. "Winning that tie is the difference between having an extra 30m euros or not. There's so much at stake - a fifth of our budget."

Grandini, who is also vice chairman of the European Club Association, went on to reveal he believes the disparity of the financial rewards on offer to those taking part in the Europa League rather than the Champions League is an issue which will soon be addressed.

"This is something that will be mentioned at the next European Club Association meeting when we start to talk about new financial distribution models for the 2015-18 UEFA cycle," he said.

"We will look to reduce the financial gap in various ways with perhaps a more even distribution of monies between both competitions so that it lessens the impact on the Europa League teams who fail to qualify for the Champions League."

Though the winner of the Europa League earn 10.5m euros for its efforts over the entire season, the Champions League winner earns that amount from the final alone.