Manchester United could face suspension from the Europa League

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 at the weekend secured Erik Ten Hag’s team a place in the European tournament.

However, United’s place in the Europa League is in jeopardy due to UEFA’s multi-club ownership rules, which could see them excluded 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 owns a partial stake in Manchester United.

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

Manchester United announced on Christmas Eve 2023 that they had reached an agreement for INEOS chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe to acquire up to 25% of the club’s shares.

This would put INEOS in violation of UEFA regulations while at the same time being the sole owner 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.

If INEOS fails to resolve the issue, one of its clubs could be relegated to the UEFA Conference League.

If INEOS cannot resolve the ownership dispute, one of its clubs could be relegated to the UEFA Conference League. Given Nice’s better league result (fifth), they would likely retain their place in the Europa League, relegating Manchester United (eighth).

PUNCH Online reports that Manchester United are not alone in this dilemma.

Manchester City’s parent company, City Football Group, faces a similar problem with its 47 percent ownership of Spanish club Girona.

UEFA earlier this month ordered City Football Group to reduce its involvement in Girona to allow the Spanish team to compete in next season’s Champions League after its impressive run secured a top-four finish.

UEFA’s 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 club has yet to make any formal disclosure about the next course of action to be taken.

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