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08th Feb 2023

Man United could be blocked from playing in the Champions League next season

Charlie Herbert

Man United champions league

It follows reports that a Qatari group are interested in taking over Man United.

Manchester United could be blocked from playing in the Champions League next season because of UEFA rules around club ownership.

In November, the Glazer family announced they were ready to listen to offers from parties interested in purchasing a stake in the Red Devils.

Since then, it has been widely reported that the family are more interested in offers for a full takeover, with United’s financial advisor, The Raine Group, hoping to complete a full sale of the club in the first quarter of 2023 at a price in the region of £6-7bn.

One party said to be interested in buying the club are a Qatari-based investment group.

The Daily Mail reports that this consists of a group of “private, high-wealth individuals based in the oil-rich state, buoyed by Qatar’s hosting of the World Cup,” with an offer apparently set to be tabled ahead of the mid-February deadline set by the Glazers.

However, this could have consequences for United’s Champions League hopes next season, due to the fact that Qatar Sports Investments already own another major European club in the form of Paris Saint-Germain.

Whilst there are no restrictions on an owner or group owning multiple clubs at the same time in different countries, UEFA rules state that clubs with the same owner are not allowed to participate in the same competition.

In 1998, UEFA implemented an ‘Independence of clubs’ rule which states that no two clubs participating in a UEFA competition may be directly or indirectly controlled by the same ownership group.

These rules were put in place to protect the integrity of the competition and fight against corruption such as match-fixing.

The rule states: “No individual or legal entity may have control or influence over more than one club participating in a UEFA club competition.”

This is defined as:

  1. Holding a majority of the shareholders’ voting rights;
  2. Having the right to appoint or remove a majority of the members of the administrative, management or supervisory body of the club;
  3. Being a shareholder and alone controlling a majority of the shareholders’ voting rights pursuant to an agreement entered into with other shareholders of the club; or
  4. Being able to exercise by any means a decisive influence in the decision-making of the club.

Although the group interested in United are reportedly separate from that which owns PSG, it may well be that UEFA decides this is still in breach of the above rules.

Therefore, if a Qatari group owned United while they and PSG qualify for the Champions League, there is the very real possibility that only one of the clubs would be allowed to compete in the competition.

Man United co-owner Avram Glazer has reportedly spoken to potential investors from Saudi Arabia as well.

Last month, Jim Ratcliffe confirmed that he had formally entered the process to take over United.

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