Manchester City and Girona, Manchester United and Nice allowed to play in same UEFA competitions next season

UEFA has ruled that multi-club pairs Manchester City and Girona, and Manchester United and Nice will be able to compete in the same European club competitions during the 2024-25 season.

Having relaxed its rules on multi-club ownership groups ahead of next season’s changes to its club competitions in March, UEFA then launched proceedings over a potential conflict regarding those clubs. UEFA’s rules state that no individual or legal entity can have “control or influence” over more than one club participating in a UEFA club competition, and European football’s governing body must be satisfied that the respective clubs are separate entities to maintain their tournaments’ integrity.

City Football Group (CFG) — the parent company of Manchester City — has a 47 per cent stake in La Liga side Girona, who qualified for the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history last season. The Athletic reported in May that CFG and UEFA were in talks over how Girona and City could be allowed to both play in the Champions League in 2024-25 in order to avoid one club being demoted.

Ligue 1’s Nice are owned by Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s company INEOS, which completed its purchase of a minority stake in United last December. Ratcliffe may only be a minority shareholder in United — with his stake eventually set to rise to 29 per cent — but his £1.3billion investment saw INEOS assume control of football operations at Old Trafford. Both of those sides have qualified for the 2024-25 Europa League.



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In a statement on Friday, UEFA said that “following the implementation of significant changes by the concerned investors” in both Nice and Girona, no one has “control or decisive influence” over both teams.

Ratcliffe's INEOS has stakes in Manchester United and Nice (Getty Images)

Ratcliffe’s INEOS has stakes in Manchester United and Nice (Getty Images)

“The significant changes made to the ownership, governance, and financial support of the concerned clubs, substantially restrict the investors’ influence and decision-making power over more than one club, ensuring compliance with the multi-club ownership rule during the 2024-25 season,” UEFA added.

Girona confirmed changes to its board earlier this week, with Matthew Shayle, Edward Hall and Paul Hunston replacing John MacBeath, Simon Cliff and Ingo Bank on their board of directors.

UEFA said that in both instances, the respective clubs “will not transfer players to each other, whether permanently or on loan, directly or indirectly, from July 2024 until September 2025, with the exception of pre-existing transfer agreements”. The Athletic reported earlier this month that United were unlikely to sign Nice centre-back Jean-Clair Todibo due to UEFA’s multi-club rules.

INEOS said following UEFA’s decision: “We are pleased with the positive decision from the First Chamber of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body which will see Manchester United play in the Europa League next season. The focus for Manchester United is on the season ahead and performance on the pitch.”



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(Gabriel Bouys/AFP via Getty Images)

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