Berlusconi dismisses AC Milan sale "joke"

Berlusconi dismisses AC Milan sale "joke"
Italy's former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

ROME - Silvio Berlusconi has denied that AC Milan is up for sale after reports claimed Singaporean businessman Peter Lim was ready to fork out 500 million euros (S$869 million) for a majority stake in the club.

"Milan is not for sale, not for 500 million euros and not for 510 million, it's worth a lot more than that," said Berlusconi at the end of an appearance on Italian current affairs programme "Porta a Porta" late on Thursday.

"Let's not joke around here, certain things are sacred." Italian media reported on Thursday that billionaire investor Lim will make a bid for a controlling stake in the seven-times European champions, who are struggling in Serie A this season.

The Gazzetta Dello Sport claimed that Chinese billionaire Zong Quinghou is also interested in purchasing the club.

Financial holding company Fininvest, which owns AC Milan and is controlled by the Berlusconi family, issued a statement on Thursday ruling out any change in ownership.

"With regard to rumours reported by the press, Fininvest again denies any possibility of transfer of control of Milan," it said in a statement.

Milan have had a troubled campaign and currently lie a whopping 39 points behind Serie A leaders Juventus.

They are in with a good chance of Europa League football next season, however, after winning five games in a row under Clarence Seedorf, who replaced previous coach Massimiliano Allegri in January.

They have been trying to rein in spending in order to comply with Uefa's Financial Fair Play regulations and want to move to a new stadium, with an area of the EXPO 2015 site just outside the city viewed as a potential spot for a new ground.

They are seventh, level on 51 points with sixth-placed Parma, and face AS Roma in Rome on Friday night knowing that sixth will almost certainly be good enough for a place in Europe.

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