May 25, 2024

Nice’s largest shareholder, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, has taken over Manchester United’s football operations. Both teams hope to make it into the Champions League this season.

In an effort to guarantee that Manchester United and OGC Nice are permitted to play European football the next season, Ineos has had positive discussions with Uefa.

On Wednesday, Sir Jim Ratcliffe declared he was “crystal clear” that “Manchester United would never be prevented from participating in the Champions League by Nice’s ownership.”

Nonetheless, “no individual or legal entity” is allowed “control or influence” over more than one club that is participating in continental play, according to Uefa’s existing regulations on multi-club ownership.

Ratcliffe, who owns most of Nice, has acquired control of football operations in addition to a 27.7% interest in United, which will increase to 29%, in a deal approved on Tuesday.

Ineos has initiated proactive talks with the European Football Association (UEFA), and Uefa is now evaluating its own regulations on multi-club ownership.

United is currently in sixth place in the Premier League; but, fifth place may earn a Champions League spot, contingent on England’s Uefa coefficient.

Nice is presently ranked third in Ligue 1, and four French teams will compete in the Champions League the following season.

According to current Uefa regulations, only the club that finishes better in their home championship will be permitted to participate in Europe if two or more clubs owned by the same entity qualifies.

The club in the more prestigious European competition, the Champions League, would be allowed to enter if two clubs qualify for separate competitions.

Ratcliffe pointed out this week that with Girona and Manchester City both sitting in second position in their respective domestic competitions, the City Football Group might be facing a similar problem.

Red Bull Salzburg and RB Leipzig, two Red Bull clubs, are permitted to play in Europe since Uefa decided in 2017 that no single person had a “decisive influence” at both. Since then, the German and Austrian teams have competed in the Europa League.

Nice was acquired by Ineos in 2019, and although they have qualified for Europe twice since then—in 1957 and 1960, for example—they have never participated in the Champions League group stages. Ratcliffe made a suggestion on Wednesday that Nice might be reorganized with new directors when he mentioned Uefa’s regulations, saying: “It says you have to change the ownership structure. So it’s all about influence and positions on the board and that sort of thing.

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