Man Utd warned ‘relegation’ to the European Conference League is looming ‘if solution is not found’

Lewis Oldham
Ratcliffe Man Utd
New Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

According to reports, Manchester United are ‘facing relegation’ to the Europa Conference League and UEFA’s decision could be made next week.

Earlier this year, INEOS chief Sir Jim Ratcliffe purchased a 27.7% stake in Man Utd to become their minority stakeholder.

As part of this deal, Ratcliffe has taken control of footballing matters at Old Trafford and there is expected to be a major overhaul ahead of next season.

Despite winning the FA Cup, head coach Erik ten Hag is at risk of losing his job, with ex-Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino the current favourite to replace the Dutchman. 

The Red Devils finished eighth in the Premier League but their FA Cup win earns them a place in next season’s Europa League, while Chelsea have been dropped into the Europa Conference League and Newcastle United will not compete in Europe at all.

However, a report from The Telegraph claims Man Utd ‘face relegation to the European Conference League by Monday unless changes are made’.

This is because Ratcliffe and INEOS also own French outfit OGC Nice and they finished 5th in Ligue Un to qualify for the Europa League.

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’.

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So the report claims ‘Ratcliffe and his Ineos group have until Monday to satisfy Uefa that Manchester United and Nice should both be allowed to compete in the Europa League next season’.

‘An independent panel is due to rule on the matter before the Europa League qualifying rounds begin in the middle of July.

‘If a solution is not found, United would be forced to drop into the Europa Conference League since they finished in a lower position in the Premier League (eighth) than fifth-placed Nice did in Ligue 1.’

A statement from INEOS has revealed that they are in “direct dialogue” with UEFA and are “confident” that this situation will be avoided.

“We are aware of the position of both clubs and are in direct dialogue with Uefa,” it said. “We are confident we have a route forward for next season in Europe.”

It is also suggested that INEOS could end up ‘surrendering direct involvement at Nice’ and an update has been provided on Ten Hag.

‘They are now conducting an internal review to determine whether to stick by Erik ten Hag or sack their FA Cup winning manager and are also behind moves to appoint Dan Ashworth as sporting director. Ineos have exerted similar control at Nice since buying the club almost five years ago.

‘Telegraph Sport reported in February how Ineos could surrender direct involvement at Nice in order to satisfy Uefa’s MCO rules.

‘Sources indicated that Ineos could look to structure Nice so as to remove any “day-to-day control” and leave the Ligue 1 club as a “stand-alone” entity with Ratcliffe remaining as the major investor in the background.’

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