Manchester United may lose Europa League spot: report

The Red Devils secured place after 2-1 victory against Manchester City in the FA Cup final

By Web Desk
May 27, 2024
Manchester United celebrate FA Cup win. - AFP

Manchester United could potentially be excluded from the Europa League next season as UEFA continues to strictly enforce its regulations on multi-club ownership, according to the Mirror.

United were set to miss out on European football next season after finishing eighth in the 2023-24 Premier League standings. However, the situation changed dramatically when Erik ten Hag's side secured a surprise 2-1 victory against Manchester City in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

But even with their victory, the Red Devils might not be able to play in the second-biggest club league in Europe next season due to a technicality.

Strict regulations imposed by UEFA on multi-club ownership are intended to restrict two teams owned by the same company from participating in the same competition.

United's chances of participating in the Europe League may be jeopardised by Sir Jim Ratcliffe's ownership position in the Red Devils.

The British billionaire owns a stake in both Man United and Nice, a Ligue 1 team that qualified for the 2024–25 Europa League by finishing fifth in the French top division this season.

Currently holding 27% of United, Ratcliffe's INEOS intends to spend an additional £235 million, bringing its ownership interest to over 30%.

Teams whose owners possess more than 30% of each club are prohibited from competing in the same competition by UEFA.

Either United or Nice would therefore probably be demoted to the Europa Conference League, UEFA's third-tier club tournament, unless Ratcliffe finds a way to comply with the rules.

Nice would normally be guaranteed a place in the Europa League if they were able to finish higher in their home league. The report does suggest that Nice may fall into the Conference League as a result of United's FA Cup victory taking precedence.

One obvious fix would be for Ratcliffe and INEOS to hold off on growing their share and investment in United until after the 2019–20 season so that both teams can participate in the Europa League.

INEOS has made it apparent that their United project is their top priority, as demonstrated by their decreased investment in Nice, thus that scenario does not appear plausible.