AC Milan owner Li ‘committed’ to restoring past glories

One year in charge: AC Milan chairman Li Yonghong

Milan (AFP) – AC Milan’s Chinese owner Li Yonghong insisted Thursday he remains committed to the Serie A club as he marked the first anniversary of his takeover.

Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s 30-year ownership ended last April when he sold the club to Li’s Chinese-led consortium for 740 million euros ($913m).

Since then, there have been questions about the financial stability of the consortium that subsequently went on a 200-million-euro summer spending spree on new players.

“I’m very excited to say that today we are celebrating our first-year anniversary with the club,” Li, 48, said in an open letter to fans published on the club’s website.

“I’d like to take this opportunity to stress once again we are fully committed in this project for AC Milan’s growth. 

“Of course, we still have a long way to go to achieve our goal, which is to bring the club back to where it belongs: at the top of European football. 

“While we are celebrating a positive first year, we know this is only the beginning of our project to make AC Milan successful and stable, a project we shall pursue aiming for excellence, and fully respecting all the financial commitments we undertook.”

It has been a turbulent first year for Li who was forced to issue a statement in February dismissing claims he has been declared bankrupt in China while Italian prosecutors are reported to have opened an investigation into his purchase following claims of suspect financial dealings.

Coached by former AC Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso the club are currently sixth in Serie A and through to the Italian Cup final in May.