Why Manchester United could be banned from the Europa League next year


Following Manchester United's FA Cup win over bitter rivals Manchester CityErik ten Hag's men have qualified for the Europa League, despite missing out on a European finish in the Premier League.

However, due to United's new relations with INEOS and Sir Jim Ratcliffe, they could be relegated to the Europa Conference League or face expulsion from Europe all together.

The reasoning for this is because INEOS, who have a minority stake with the Manchester side, also own French side Nice. The Ligue 1 outfit will also be taking part in next year's Europa League after finishing fifth - and this is where the problem arises. 

UEFA have a multi-club ownership rule in their competitions which could directly affect United.

Manchester United are not the only Manchester side who face this problem, with the blue side of Manchester also in the same pot as their owners have a stake in Spanish side Girona. 

Following Manchester United's win over Manchester City in the FA Cup they have qualified for the Europa League despite an eight place league finish

Manchester United face the possibility of being banned from the Europa League however due to part owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe's (above, at Wembley) involvement with French side Nice


Manchester United face the possibility of being banned from the Europa League however due to part owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe's (above, at Wembley) involvement with French side Nice 

Ratcliffe's INEOS have sole ownership of Nice who have also qualified for the Europa League


Ratcliffe's INEOS have sole ownership of Nice who have also qualified for the Europa League

Why could Manchester United be relegated to the Europa Conference League... or worse? 

The reason why Erik ten Hag's side could be relegated to the Conference League is because both the Manchester outfit and the French side, Nice are both involved with INEOS chief Sir Jim Ratcliffe. 

This is a problem for INEOS as UEFA regulations state that clubs under the same ownership will not be allowed to participate in the same competition.

The specific UEFA rule this lies under is UEFA's multi-club ownership (MCO). 

UEFA's MCO rule means owners can only own one club and have a maximum 30 percent stake in another.

UEFA brought the rule into place to not allow any entity to have a decisive influence over more than one club in the same tournament so that the competition keeps it's integrity and fairness.   

UEFA regulations state that clubs under the same ownership will not be allowed to participate in the same competition


UEFA regulations state that clubs under the same ownership will not be allowed to participate in the same competition

United claimed a crucial win over their local rivals to secure a spot in Europe thanks to goals from their two teenagers Mainoo (second from the right) and Garnacho (furthest right)


United claimed a crucial win over their local rivals to secure a spot in Europe thanks to goals from their two teenagers Mainoo (second from the right) and Garnacho (furthest right) 

Breakdown of INEOS relationship with United and Nice

As it stands, INEOS chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe owns 27.7 per cent of Manchester United, whilst also being the sole owner of the French side.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his INEOS Group paid more than £1billion for their stake in the club in December, with their stake in the club set to rise close to 30 per cent following a further £238million injection.

However the business man's plans to expand his investment in the Manchester outfit could see INEOS face major problems in the near future with UEFA.

UEFA's current MCO regulations states that owners can only own one club and have a maximum share of 30 per cent in another.  

If Ratcliffe and INEOS increase their stake in Manchester United - which they are on course to do, it would mean that one of INEOS' clubs would be relegated to the Conference League. 

Per Article 5.04 of the UEFA regulations now says a club that is replaced in one competition 'may still be admitted to another UEFA club competition (i.e. in descending order: UEFA Europa League or UEFA Conference League) to which the relevant national association has access'. 

Manchester United would be that club in this instance as the finished lower than Nice in their respective leagues. 

Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his INEOS Group paid more than £1billion for their 27.7 per cent stake in Manchester United in December


Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his INEOS Group paid more than £1billion for their 27.7 per cent stake in Manchester United in December

INEOS statement regarding UEFA's MCO regulations 

INEOS released a statement regarding their current situation, stating that they are 'confident' both Manchester United and Nice will be allowed to take part in the Europa League next season. 

Sir Jim Ratcliffe's group statement read: 'We are aware of the position of the two clubs and we are in direct dialogue with UEFA.

'We are convinced that we have a solution for next season in Europe.' 

INEOS are confident they will pass UEFA's MCO regulations because as it stands their stake in Manchester in less than the 30 per cent threshold for the multi-club ownership rules to come into place.

Despite Ratcliffe is set to surpass the 30 per cent threshold with plans to further increase his investment, the rules regarding the issue have been relaxed heading into the new season. 

INEOS released a statement regarding their current situation, saying, 'We are convinced that we have a solution for next season in Europe'


INEOS released a statement regarding their current situation, saying, 'We are convinced that we have a solution for next season in Europe'

UEFA's deadline

Manchester United are not the only Premier League side who face a problem in Europe next season.

Their neighbours Manchester City also face the same issue in the Champions League.  

Manchester City's Abu Dhabi investors have severely tested UEFA's rules on multi-club ownership as the Abu Dhabi created operation have stakes in 13 clubs worldwide including sole ownership of Manchester City and a 47 per cent stake in Spanish side Girona. 

Manchester City also face the same issue as their Abu Dhabi investors also have a 47 per cent stake in Girona who will also take part in the Champions League next season


Manchester City also face the same issue as their Abu Dhabi investors also have a 47 per cent stake in Girona who will also take part in the Champions League next season 

According to The Telegraph Manchester United have till Monday, June 3 to plead their cases to UEFA that their two sides can simultaneously compete in the same tournament next season.

Given the extremely tight timeframe, UEFA are offering clubs a potential solution of selling shares is necessary.

UEFA will accept ‘the transfer or the assignment of all its shares in a club to an independent third party’ such as a blind trust. This trust will act solely in the club’s best interest

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