Man Utd confirm talks ongoing to avoid Europa League ban

  • Man Utd at risk of demotion from Europa League
  • INEOS' ownership of two clubs in European competition could be violation of UEFA rules
  • Sir Jim Ratcliffe also owns French side Nice
Ratcliffe's ownership could cause problems with UEFA
Ratcliffe's ownership could cause problems with UEFA / Marc Atkins/Getty Images, Crystal Pix/MB Media/Getty Images

Manchester United co-owners INEOS have revealed they are in talks with UEFA regarding their planned participation in next season's Europa League, which has been called into question due to their ties with French club Nice.

The Red Devils looked set to miss out on European football having finished eighth in the Premier League, but secured a place in the Europa League after winning the FA Cup at the weekend, beating rivals Manchester City 2-1 in the final at Wembley.

As a result, sixth-place Chelsea will instead compete in the Conference League and Newcastle will not partake in Europe at all, despite coming seventh.

But INEOS' stakes in both United and Nice, who also qualified for next year's Europa League via their fifth-place finish in Ligue 1, conflict with UEFA's rules over multi-club ownership, which do not allow teams under the same management to play in the same competition.

As United finished lower in their respective domestic league, they are at risk of being demoted to the Conference League instead, but INEOS insist they are confident a solution can be found to allow both of their teams to compete in the Europa League.

A statement from INEOS read: "We are aware of the position of the two clubs and we are in direct dialogue with UEFA. We are convinced that we have a solution for next season in Europe."

Jim Ratcliffe, Raphael Varane
Ratcliffe was at Wembley for Man Utd's FA Cup triumph / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

United are expected to be handed a reprieve as INEOS' stake in the club stands at under 30%, which is in line with UEFA regulations. Nice were first acquired by Ratcliffe in 2019 for a reported €100m, while his partial purchase of United was ratified earlier in 2024.

Across Manchester, City Football Group's 47% stake in La Liga side Girona could see the Spanish outfit dumped out of the Champions League, though it is also expected that an agreement will be reached with UEFA over both teams' participation.

In recent years, UEFA have allowed both European clubs under the Red Bull ownership umbrella - Leipzig and Salzburg - to compete in the same tournament, and they have even faced off against each other in official competition.