This doesn’t quite fall under “take your punishment like men.” From the BBC :

AC Milan have not given up hope of playing in Europe next season. Milan, Juventus and Fiorentina were banned from the Champions League as punishment for their involvement in Italy’s match-fixing scandal.

As a result of the rulings, Empoli won a Uefa Cup place but a Milan statement said: “Empoli do not have a licence to play in the Uefa Cup.

“The deadline for requesting a licence has expired, hence AC Milan could play in the 2006-07 Uefa Cup.”

Part of Milan’s punishment was a 44-point deduction from their total in last year’s Serie A, putting them a point below Empoli in the final league standings.

The Rossoneri will start the new season with a 15-point deficit but they did escape relegation, unlike Juventus, Fiorentina and Lazio.

Much as I was troubled by ESPN’s decision to begin NFL preseason prognostication on “SportsCenter” and “NFL Live” in early July, that isn’t nearly as vicious an assault on the sporting calendar as this factoid : competitive continental football has begun (sort of), just a week after the World Cup final.

An Old Gunner or Ole’ Gunnar? The Guardian reports Patrick Vieira might return to the Premiership as a member of Manchester United, while the Independent takes stock of a rare Ole’ Gunnar Solskjaer sighting (scoring a pair of goals in a friendly in South Africa).