Manchester United could face Europa League ban due to Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS ownership

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Manchester United could face a Europa League ban next season due to their ownership situation.

Manchester United secured a place in the Europa League next season when they defeated local rivals Manchester City in the FA Cup final on Saturday, May 25 - but it may not be quite so simple.

United’s new minority owners, INEOS, headed by Jim Ratcliffe, also own a stake in OGC Nice. Like United, Nice also qualified for the 2024/25 Europa League - this could be problematic, due to UEFA’s rules on multi-club owners having more than one team in the same competition.

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Right now, INEOS hold a stake of 27.2% in United, which is below the 30% threshold that UEFA’s rules apply to. Despite this, Ratcliffe and his associates are planning to invest £245 million in the Red Devils’ infrastructure - which would push their ownership beyond the threshold.

Due to this, unless INEOS and United can reach some sort of agreement with UEFA, there is a real possibility that one of the two clubs will be demoted to the Europa Conference League ahead of next season. Nice finished 5th in Ligue 1 last season, while United landed eighth in the Premier League table - as such, it seems more likely that United will be the ones who pay the penalty.

UEFA’s new ruleset states, in Article 5.04, that another club ‘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’.

Regarding the situation, INEOS released a statement, which reads: “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 remain confident that they will able to reach a positive outcome for all parties - it remains to be seen what United’s European fate will be in the 2024/25 campaign.