Man United «may not be allowed to play in Europe the following season.»

After months of speculation the 71-year-old Billionaire’s takeover of the club was finally announced via club statement in December.

Ratcliffe and his INEOS Group paid more than £1billion for a 27.7 per cent stake in the club, which will rise to close to 30 per cent following a further £238million injection.

Despite not being the majority owner, since the deal was completed in February Ratcliffe has taken over footballing operations at United alongside his INEOS colleagues Jean-Claude Blanc and Sir David Brailsford.

The INEOS group also own Nice, with the French side currently fifth in Ligue 1 and on course to secure European football.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe's ownership of Man United could have significant consequences if the club qualify for European football
In addition to his role as head of football operations at United, Ratcliffe's INEOS group also own French side Nice

This is where Ratcliffe’s ownership of United could prove problematic for the Premier League club.

UEFA regulations have stated that while multiple teams under the same ownership umbrella can play in Europe going forward, a ban on said teams playing in the same competition remains in place.

A source from the organisation confirmed the news to The Sun: ‘It is correct that Manchester United and Nice cannot play in the same competition.

‘They could play in different competitions, as there is no «feeding» between competitions any more.’

As it stands Erik ten Hag’s team are six points behind Tottenham and nine behind Aston Villa in the race for European qualification.

However, the FA Cup remains a viable entry into European competitions for the club – as even if Manchester City retain their crown the additional league space given a European berth would be go to their rivals.

This normally wouldn’t be an issue. However, should that happen while Nice secure a Europa League spot through a fifth-placed finish they would take precedence over United, forcing the Premier League club to drop into the Conference League.

However, if United manage to triumph in the FA Cup this season they would take precedence and Francesco Farioli’s side would instead be placed in the Conference League.

While UEFA regulations will allow teams under the same ownership banner to play in Europe simultaneously, they cannot do so in the same competition
As such, United could find themselves bumped out of a European spot depending on Nice's league placement

Likewise, if both teams manage to qualify for the Champions League this season, the place will be allocated to the team who finish higher in their respective league.

If both teams finish in the same position domestically, United would still take precedence based on England’s spot at the top of UEFA’s coefficient.

Most dramatically for United fans, there remains a scenario in which both United and Nice qualify for the Conference League through their domestic cups but Nice maintain a higher league position.

Should this prove to be the case, the French side would be given the spot with United left without any European football.


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