UEFA’s ownership rules threaten Manchester United European participation

Manchester United’s European tournament hopes hang in the balance as UEFA maintains its ban on clubs under the same ownership competing in the same competition.

Despite recent assurances from UEFA, the governing body confirmed the ban, potentially jeopardizing United’s European campaign next season.

Under Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s ownership, Nice’s decline in Ligue 1 could worsen United’s predicament.

Ratcliffe’s INEOS group owns Nice, and his involvement in United’s football operations, following a minority share buy-out from the Glazers, triggers UEFA’s ownership regulations.

UEFA's ownership rules threaten Manchester United European participation
Manchester United face threat of not participating in European tournament next season – Getty image

While clubs under the same ownership can participate in different competitions, they cannot compete against each other in the same tournament.

This regulation could impact United’s eligibility for European competitions next season, particularly if Nice and United qualify for the same tournament.

United currently sits sixth in the Premier League, likely securing a Europa League spot.

However, Nice’s unexpected dip in form could complicate matters.

If both clubs finish in positions warranting Europa League qualification, Nice’s precedence in the domestic championship could push United out of contention.

Again, UEFA’s restructuring of European competitions next season adds even more complexity.

The traditional group stage will be replaced by three single leagues, with clubs eliminated from any league excluded from European football altogether.

Although UEFA’s regulations prioritize domestic performance and England’s position in the access list, uncertainties persist.

If Manchester City and Girona, both affiliated with the City Football Group, qualify for the Champions League, potential conflicts could arise, necessitating Girona’s removal from the City Football Club board to resolve the issue.