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Gary Neville chat with UEFA chief has shed light on Man Utd's potential Champions League ban

Jack Kenmare

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Gary Neville chat with UEFA chief has shed light on Man Utd's potential Champions League ban

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin shed light on the ongoing situation regarding UEFA's multi-club ownership rules during a chat with Gary Neville.

It was reported on Thursday that Manchester United face a possible ban from the Champions League once British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe completes his minority stake purchase of the Premier League club.

Ratcliffe, who is set to acquire a 25 per cent stake of United for a reported £1.3 billion, will add another team to his portfolio that features Ligue 1 side OGC Nice and Swiss Super League outfit Lausanne-Sport.

As a result of Radcliffe's impending arrival, questions have been raised over whether both Manchester United and OGC Nice would be allowed to play in the Champions League in the same year.

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Article 5.02 of UEFA's regulations states that if two or more clubs fail to meet the criteria aimed at ensuring the integrity of the competition, only one of them may be admitted to a UEFA club competition.

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Clubs in France's top flight are set to be awarded three automatic spots and one play-off place, with the top five teams in the Premier League going straight into Europe's elite competition.

But under UEFA's 'multi-club ownership' rules, the only way United and Nice can both play in the Champions League next season is if one seals an automatic spot and the other qualifies directly for the Conference League, according to The Sun.

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If both clubs secure spots in the automatic Champions League spots in their respective leagues, the team that finishes higher of the two gets the place while the other misses out.

If both clubs finish in the same position, then England's ranking at the top of UEFA's 'access list' means Erik ten Hag's side will gain entry to the Champions League.

Ratcliffe is prepared to make big changes at Old Trafford. Image Credit: Getty
Ratcliffe is prepared to make big changes at Old Trafford. Image Credit: Getty

A UEFA source confirmed: "As the rules stand, it’s a clear situation. Ineos own Nice and are set to have a significant role in running United.

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"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."

Back in March this year, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin gave his take on the multi-club ownership situation during an interview with Gary Neville on The Overlap.

And here, Ceferin made some telling comments on the rules.

"We are not thinking about Manchester United only," Ceferin said. "We've had five or six owners of clubs who want to buy another club. We have to see what to do. The options are that it stays like that or that we allow them to play in the same competition.

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"I'm not sure yet. We have to speak about these regulations and see what to do about it. There is more and more interest in this multi-club ownership. We shouldn't just say no for the investments for multi-club ownership, but we have to see what kind of rules we set in that case because the rules have to be strict.

"From one point of view it's true if you are the owner of two clubs and they play in the same competition you can say to one club to lose because you want the other to win. But for you, as a football player, do you think it's so easy to do that, to tell a coach, lose the match because the other wants to win?"

Manchester United currently sit outside the Champions League places in sixth, while Ligue 1 high flyers OGC Nice are just one point behind leaders PSG in second.

Featured Image Credit: The Overlap/YouTube

Topics: Gary Neville, Manchester United, Premier League, Champions League

Jack Kenmare
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