Man Utd: Sir Jim Ratcliffe ‘privately’ responds to ‘looking to sell club’ claims amid UEFA ‘factor’

Lewis Oldham
Man Utd Ratcliffe
Sir Jim Ratcliffe with Manchester United and OGC Nice badges.

Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has reportedly ‘privately’ responded to claims suggesting he’s ‘looking to sell’ Ligue Un side OGC Nice.

The INEOS chief bought a 27.7% stake in the Premier League giants at the start of this year. As part of this deal, he has taken control of footballing matters at Old Trafford.

Ratcliffe to sell Nice?

Ratcliffe previously failed to buy Chelsea, but he has owned French team OGC Nice since 2019.

The British billionaire’s involvement with the two clubs has caused difficulties as current UEFA multi-club ownership (MCO) rules permit ‘any organisation or individual from having “decisive influence” over the running of more than one club in the same competition’.

Man Utd and Nice could face each other in the Europa League next season. The French outfit finished fifth in Ligue Un to qualify, while the Red Devils booked their place in the competition by winning the FA Cup.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Man Utd have been given the ‘go-ahead’ by UEFA to compete against Nice in the Europa League in 2024/25, but this comes with a ‘transitional’ warning as ‘there will not be as much leeway given in future seasons’.

To avoid problems in the future, it has been reported that Ratcliffe is ‘looking to sell’ Nice so he can focus on matters at Man Utd.

‘Manchester United minority owner INEOS are looking to sell Nice, amid expectations that the two clubs will be given a one-season transition by Uefa to compete in the Europa League this season.

‘Another factor is that Sir Jim Ratcliffe wants to focus on United, having achieved a lifetime ambition by becoming involved with his boyhood club.’

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‘One problem is that French football is currently in financial disarray, due to Ligue 1 failing to secure a broadcast partner for next season, but Nice are seen as a distinctive case due to the attractive location.

‘Moves are at an early stage but a number of sources state that INEOS are open to selling the French club.

‘A huge complicating factor is the collapse of Ligue 1’s domestic TV market, with as yet no broadcaster agreed. Forecasts have fallen from potentially €1bn deals to a mere €500m. The situation remains unresolved with concerns over how quickly a new agreement can be set up.

‘Other takeover plans have stalled, with clubs already downgrading revenue expectations. An alternate view to that is it could be an opportune moment to buy a club with huge potential, in a hugely attractive location on the south coast of France.’

However, according to reports in France, Ratcliffe ‘wants to privately deny the rumour of the sale’ of Nice, suggesting INEOS ‘is not a seller’.

It is indicated that a public announcement is expected soon, with two recent appointments at Nice said to have reinforced Ratcliffe’s commitment to the club.

‘Those close to the petrochemical group cite the arrivals of Franck Haise and Florian Maurice as symbols of their attachment to the Riviera club. One of the two best coaches in France over the last three years according to his peers and a very good sports director.’

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