Bologna, Italy – FC Milan have been fined €40 million ($48.7 million) by UEFA for racist remarks they made about a Russian referee, a court in Milan has heard.

The Bianconeri are currently sitting on the third spot in Serie A, two points behind Juventus, with nine games to play.

A hearing on Wednesday was to determine the fine.

Milan president Erick Thohir said in a statement: “We are shocked and disappointed to hear of this case.

The FC of Milan is one of the most famous football teams in Europe and the fans are passionate.

I can assure you that we have never made any racist remarks towards anyone in the past.

This has not happened during my tenure as president and I am committed to improving the image of football in Italy and in all countries.”

The Russian referee in question was Pavel Golovkin, who was appointed in 2014 by then-president Adriano Galliani.

He is currently a member of the referee’s body, the European Football Referees Association.

The club was fined €15 million ($20.5 million) for breaching UEFA rules, which prohibit racist remarks in football.

UEFA said the fine was in line with the rules.

The governing body said the incident “reflects the unacceptable and discriminatory conduct of a referee”.

“The club has committed itself to eradicate the culture of racism and discrimination towards Russian referees, which is a serious and serious issue,” UEFA president Gianni Infantino said.

“We have already introduced the Anti-Racism Policy to help to eliminate racist behavior in football, as well as to increase the transparency of the decision-making process.”

The Italian football association is investigating the incident.

“Our investigation into this matter is ongoing, and we will be making a decision on our own,” Infantini added.

In 2014, Italian football authorities fined Milan €10 million ($13.3 million) after an incident involving the referee in a friendly against FC Toulouse in the French city of Nice.