Manchester United may be kicked out of next season’s Champions League competition due to Sir Jim Ratcliffe, a UEFA source has confirmed.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe‘s 25 per cent stake in Manchester United is due to be confirmed next week as he takes sporting control of Erik ten Hag‘s club.
Ratcliffe’s share comes as a result of of year-long battle to gain ownership of Old Trafford, with the British billionaire looking to completely overhaul the structure surrounding Ten Hag.
His company, Ineos, currently owns Ligue 1 side Nice, and with the French side currently sitting second in the table, a source from UEFA has confirmed that this may mean United get kicked out of European competition next season.
“As the rules stand, it’s a clear situation. Ineos own Nice and are set to have a significant role in running United,” a UEFA source confirmed when asked by The Sun.
“Unless the regulations are changed, or Ineos sell one of their stakes, they cannot both play in European competitions, unless one is in the Champions League and the other in the Conference League.”
Ahead of next season’s expanded Champions League format, Ligue 1 teams are set to be awarded three automatic spots and one play-off place with English sides being handed five direct routes.
But under UEFA’s famous “multi-club ownership” rules, the only way both clubs can play in Europe in the next campaign is if one directly qualifies for the Champions League and the directly for the Conference League, Europe’s third-tier competition.
If both finish in their respective Champions League spots, the team that finishes the higher of the two gets the place with the other banned from Europe. If both clubs finish the seasons in the same position, England’s ranking at the top of UEFA’s access list means United qualify for the Champions League over Nice, who will only play domestic football.
However, if Nice finish fourth in Ligue 1, lose their playoff game, and drop to the Europa League, United would be barred from playing in said competition even if they qualify for it by finishing sixth or winning the FA Cup.
In this case, the only way United could play in Europe is if they finish seventh and hope the winners of the Carabao Cup have already qualified for Europe through their league position.