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UEFA decides on Man United Europa League ban

UEFA decides on Man United Europa League ban
Published 2 weeks ago on Jun 03, 2024

Manchester United Cleared for Europa League But Conditions Apply: UEFA Makes Landmark Decision on Multi-Club Ownership.

Manchester United fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Despite concerns surrounding UEFA's multi-club ownership regulations, the Red Devils have been granted permission to compete in the Europa League next season. However, this participation comes with certain stipulations, potentially setting a precedent for future cases.

The issue arose due to shared ownership between Manchester United and French club Nice. Both teams secured spots in the Europa League – United through their FA Cup victory and Nice through a fifth-place Ligue 1 finish. Sir Jim Ratcliffe's company, Ineos, holds ownership stakes in both clubs, triggering a potential violation of UEFA's rules designed to prevent undue influence over multiple teams in the same competition.

According to The Times, UEFA has granted Manchester United a conditional pass to participate alongside Nice. This decision, however, appears to be a temporary solution. The report suggests a "blind trust" model is being proposed for Nice, where an independent body approved by UEFA would oversee the club's operations. This approach mirrors a similar arrangement used this season involving AC Milan, Toulouse, and their American investor Red Bird Capital.

While Manchester United can compete in the 2024/25 Europa League, the Times emphasizes that UEFA views this as a transitional year. It seems stricter enforcement of multi-club ownership regulations is likely in future seasons, with "less leeway" expected. Documents obtained by the newspaper indicate that the blind trust solution is a "temporary alternative" and future rule changes could further impact such situations.

This ruling paves the way for Manchester City and Girona to compete in the Champions League as well. City Football Group owns Girona, and their potential relegation to the Europa League due to City's Premier League title win posed a similar ownership challenge. Similar to Nice, Girona would also likely need a blind trust structure to participate in the Champions League.

The complex ownership situation stems from Ineos' acquisition of Nice in 2019, followed by a 27.7% stake purchase in Manchester United earlier this year. Sir Jim Ratcliffe has also pledged a further £245 million investment in United, exceeding the 30% ownership threshold that triggers UEFA's regulations. Additionally, Ratcliffe holds ownership of Swiss club Lausanne-Sport, though they haven't qualified for European competitions this season.

Ineos acknowledged the situation in a statement, expressing confidence in finding a solution for both clubs' European participation next season. They are reportedly in direct communication with UEFA to navigate this new regulatory landscape.

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