Keeping it in the family. UEFA rules Man City and Man Utd can face sister clubs in UCL and Europa League

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July 8 – Manchester City and Manchester United will be able to face Girona and Nice respectively in Europe this coming season after multi-club ownership conditions set by UEFA were met.

Girona and City are part of the City Football Group while Ineos, which has been in control of football operations at United since earlier this year, is the majority owner of Nice.

City Football Group found themselves forced to face questions about their influence in both clubs after Girona’s surprise qualification for the Champions League. Likewise, INEOS saw both Nice and Man Utd reach the Europa League.

UEFA rules state that clubs controlled by the same entity cannot compete in the same competition as each other, forcing both CFG and INEOS to make changes to satisfy the regulations.

Those changes have now been made, allowing all four clubs to compete freely in their respective European competitions next season.

UEFA also said the clubs had agreed not to transfer players between them, permanently or on loan, or directly or indirectly, between now and September 2025.

The only exception will be deals agreed prior to UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) opening proceedings against the clubs.

The clubs also agreed not to conclude any co-operation, joint technical or commercial agreements between them or use any joint scouting or player database.

“Following the implementation of significant changes by the concerned investors in Girona FC and OGC Nice (respectively City Football Group and INEOS), the CFCB First Chamber accepted the admission of Girona FC and Manchester FC to the 2024/25 UEFA Champions League as well as Manchester United FC and OGC Nice to the 2024/25 UEFA Europa League,” a statement read.

“The clubs were able to demonstrate that such changes brought them into compliance with the multi-club ownership rule, considering that: No one is simultaneously involved, directly or indirectly, in any capacity whatsoever in the management, administration and/or sporting performance of more than one club participating in a UEFA club competition; and no one has control or decisive influence over more than one club participating in a UEFA club competition.

“More specifically, 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.

“In particular, the concerned investors have transferred their shares in Girona FC and OGC Nice to independent trustees through a blind trust structure established under the supervision of the CFCB First Chamber. Such blind trust was accepted by the CFCB First Chamber on an exceptional basis for the 2024/25 UEFA competitions. The trustees will regularly exchange information with the CFCB First Chamber during the 2024/25 season.”

Ineos said in a statement: “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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