Man United’s European timeshare challenge

Man Utd navigates UEFA rules

Image of Old Trafford. Credit: Thomas McAtee/

Manchester United finds itself grappling with UEFA’s regulations to secure its spot in European competitions.

In February, the Premier League sanctioned the acquisition of a 25 per cent stake in Manchester United by Jim Ratcliffe, the head of Ineos and also the primary proprietor of French club Nice since 2019.

This move, finalised last December for £300 million, has sparked a negotiation with UEFA to ensure Manchester United’s eligibility for European tournaments.

Ratcliffe’s dual ownership presents a potential conflict with UEFA’s timeshare rules, which aim to prevent any single entity from gaining an unfair advantage through ownership in multiple clubs.

Ownership and eligibility

UEFA’s stipulations mandate that if two clubs under the same ownership qualify for the same competition, only the higher-placed team in their domestic league will be eligible, thereby removing any doubt that the shared ownership doesn’t confer any advantage.

This year, Aston Villa and Brighton, despite their interconnected ownerships, have successfully competed in Europe, setting a precedent for Manchester United’s current situation.

A strategic partnership

Ratcliffe emerged as a frontrunner in the acquisition race, willing to settle for a minority stake over full control, unlike Qatari investors who proposed a £5 billion takeover.

His approach won over the Glazers, who have been at the helm since 2005, in hope of revitalising the club’s fortunes.

Manchester United anticipates that Ratcliffe’s investment will herald a return to the glory days absent since Sir Alex Ferguson‘s retirement in 2013.

Vision for the future

Among Ratcliffe’s initial moves is the ambitious plan to replace Old Trafford with a new £2.4 billion stadium, aiming to revitalise the northern region of England..

This development is poised to become a regional landmark, signifying a new era for the club and its surroundings.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.