Man Utd odds-on for Champions League ban under Ratcliffe as rule change ‘increasingly unlikely’

Will Ford
Man Utd takeover
Sir Jim Ratcliffe's ownership of Nice is bad news for Manchester United.

European clubs are reportedly split over a potential rule change that would allow Manchester United to compete in the same competition as Nice next season.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe is currently finalising a deal to buy a 25 per cent stake in United that could see them banned from the Champions League next season as the Ineos chief also owns Ligue 1 side Nice.

The French side sit second in Ligue 1, one point behind leaders Paris Saint-Germain, and their success could be a problem for United, with UEFA’s current ‘multi-club ownership’ rules stating that the only way they can both play in Europe next season is if one seals an automatic Champions League spot and the other goes into the Europa Conference League.

If both teams finish in the Champions League qualification spots in their respective divisions, the team that finishes higher will be awarded the place with the other banned from European competition.

If both finish in the same position, England’s ranking at the top of UEFA’s “access list” would mean Erik ten Hag’s side would get in ahead of Nice.

The Premier League is in line to be handed five automatic Champions League spots as one of the top two leagues in Europe, while Ligue 1 will likely receive three direct berths and one play-off place. And this is where it gets complicated.

If Nice finish in fourth, in the last play-off spot, and United finish sixth, the potential of the French side losing the play-off and dropping into the Europa League means United would be banned from playing in UEFA’s secondary tournament.

A UEFA source told The Sun earlier this month: “As the rules stand, it’s a clear situation. Ineos own Nice and are set to have a significant role in running United.

“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.”

And now it’s claimed that while some clubs – including United – want UEFA bosses to change the rules to allow multi-club ownership teams to play in the same competition, other European clubs are resisting those changes.

The Sun adds that ‘finding a solution in time for next season is seeming increasingly unlikely’.

READ MORE: Man Utd ‘silence!’ no one as Premier League’s ‘best’ f*cks it in the Champions League again