Home » Man United bidder Jim Ratcliffe may be forced to sell OGC Nice stake to comply with UEFA rules

Man United bidder Jim Ratcliffe may be forced to sell OGC Nice stake to comply with UEFA rules

by Derick Kinoti

INEOS billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe may be forced to sell his stake in Ligue 1 outfit OGC Nice if his bid to buy Manchester United is successful.

Ratcliffe through his petrochemicals company owns Nice and a conflict would arise if both the French club and United qualified for the Champions League.

The 70-year-old is keen to purchase United from the Glazers and lodged a revised bid last week.

If he wins the race to take charge at his boyhood club, Ratcliffe’s INEOS would be custodians of three football institutions – United, OGC Nice and Swiss second-tier side FC Lausanne-Sport.

ESPN’s Mark Ogden reports, “Sir Jim Ratcliffe could be forced to sell his stake in French club Nice to avoid the prospect of one of his teams being excluded from the Champions League if he wins the race to buy out the Glazer family and take ownership of the Premier League side, a source has told ESPN.”

“Ratcliffe would contravene existing rules if both United and Nice qualified for the same UEFA competition under his ownership.”

“Article 5 of UEFA’s club competition regulations relates to integrity of the competition and multi-club ownership, with the rules forbidding two teams controlled by the same person or group from competing in the same competition.”

Earlier this month, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin told Gary Neville that the football governing body was looking to review the regulations around multi-club ownership. Ceferin strongly hinted that these laws would be relaxed to allow teams owned by the same individuals or consortiums to compete against each other in the same competition.

“Unless Ratcliffe and INEOS diluted their interest in Nice, they would risk the French side or United falling foul of Article 5.02 of UEFA regulations which outlines the steps that would be taken if two clubs owned by the same person or group qualified for the same competition.”

If a situation arises where the Red Devils and Nice finish within Champions League spots, the club that finished higher in their respective domestic league would take up the slot in Europe’s top competition.

Say for instance United finished in fourth place while Nice finished in the top three of Ligue 1, Nice would automatically play in the UCL at United’s expense.

Ratcliffe’s main competitor in the race to buy United, Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al-Thani, is also likely to be forced to prove that he has no association or connection to Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) which owns PSG.

However, as Ogden points out, this is a far bigger problem for Ratcliffe as he would instantly come under heavy scrutiny from UEFA if he succeeds in his efforts to land United.

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