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UEFA ownership rule: Manchester United could face Europa League ban.

28th May 2024

Manchester United

Manchester United’s participation in next season’s Europa League is under threat, despite their recent FA Cup triumph over Manchester City.

The 2-1 victory at Wembley over the weekend secured a spot in the European tournament for Erik Ten Hag’s team.

However, United’s place in the Europa League is jeopardised due to UEFA’s multi-club ownership rules, which could see them banned from the competition.

UEFA’s multi-club ownership rules prohibit two teams owned by the same organization from competing in the same tournament.

Both Manchester United and Nice share the same ownership under INEOS. Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s company fully owns Nice, while it holds a partial stake in Manchester United.

Ratcliffe’s INEOS currently holds a 27 per cent stake in United but plans to increase its investment by £245 million, pushing its ownership above 30 per cent.

Manchester United announced on Christmas Eve 2023 that it has reached an agreement for INEOS Chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe to acquire up to a 25% share of the club.

This would place INEOS in violation of UEFA’s regulations while being the sole owners of Nice, which secured a fifth-place finish in Ligue 1 and a Europa League spot.

Nice finished fifth in the French top-flight to secure a place in next season’s Europa League.

Should INEOS fail to resolve the issue, one of their clubs could be relegated to the UEFA Conference League.

If INEOS cannot resolve the ownership conflict, one of their clubs might be relegated to the UEFA Conference League. Given Nice’s higher league finish (5th), they would likely retain their Europa League spot, relegating Manchester United instead (8th).

Report states that Manchester United isn’t alone in this dilemma.

Manchester City’s parent company, City Football Group, faces a similar issue with their 47 per cent ownership of Spanish club Girona.

UEFA, earlier this month, mandated that City Football Group reduce its stake in Girona to allow the Spanish side to compete in next season’s Champions League after their impressive run secured a top-four finish.

The UEFA Club Financial Control Body recently updated its multi-club ownership rules to prevent any form of “decisive influence” over multiple clubs participating in the same European tournament.

This means that clubs with shared ownership stakes must navigate these regulations to secure their places in European competitions.

Meanwhile, neither of the clubs have yet to make a formal disclosure on the next line of action to take.



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