How Man Utd and Man City have been offered Champions League reprieve as UEFA relaxes rules - explained


The new rules, set to take effect from the 2024-25 campaign, allow clubs under common ownership to participate in different UEFA competitions, even if they are typically prevented from playing in the same tournament.

This move marks a notable departure from previous restrictions and has far-reaching implications for clubs across Europe. Under the revised regulations, teams owned by the same entity can now compete in various UEFA club competitions, opening up opportunities for strategic planning and diversification in participation.


For instance, clubs like Manchester United and Nice, both owned by Sir Jim Ratcliffe's company INEOS, could potentially feature in different tournaments. Similarly, City Football Group’s Manchester City and Girona, Red Bull's Leipzig and Salzburg sides, or Qatar Sports Investment's Paris Saint-Germain and Braga could now find themselves participating in separate UEFA competitions without any legal hurdle.


The changes are outlined in articles 5.04 and 5.05 of UEFA's competition regulations, which will be enforced starting May 1. Article 5.04 stipulates that one 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”. However, the slots allotted to a particular member association will still remain the same - unless one of the teams ends up winning a UEFA competition but finishes beyond the qualification places in their domestic league.


With the format of the UEFA competitions undergoing significant changes from next season - which would see a single-table round-robin stage - there will be concerns about the heightened challenges in ensuring fair play and preventing conflicts of interest. 

This decision is a clear shift to accommodate and adapt to the evolving landscape of football ownership and competition structures.

While UEFA has historically addressed instances of multi-club ownership on a case-by-case basis, the surge in such ownership structures necessitates a more comprehensive approach to safeguarding competition integrity. FIFA, which has also revamped its Club World Cup, faces similar challenges in regulating multi-club ownership. As the sport continues to evolve, ensuring fairness and transparency in club competitions remains paramount, prompting governing bodies to adapt and refine their regulations accordingly.


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