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Man Utd ‘could be RELEGATED to Conference League’ despite FA Cup win

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MANCHESTER UNITED face being relegated to the Europa Conference League despite their FA Cup final triumph, reports suggest.

The Red Devils’ 2-1 win over Manchester City on Saturday saw them finish a tough season on a high and qualify for the Europa League next season.

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Man Utd’s FA Cup win saw them qualify for the Europa LeagueCredit: Getty
However, Sir Jim Ratcliffe's majority ownership of French club Nice could cause an issue under Uefa multi-club rules

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However, Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s majority ownership of French club Nice could cause an issue under Uefa multi-club rulesCredit: Alamy
An increase in the ownership share of Man Utd may see the Red Devils relegated to the Conference League

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An increase in the ownership share of Man Utd may see the Red Devils relegated to the Conference LeagueCredit: EPA

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Chelsea were bumped down into the Conference League from the Europa League as a result, while Newcastle were bumped out of European competition entirely.

However, Man Utd could soon join the Blues in the third tier of European football due to Ineos and Sir Jim Ratcliffe‘s links with French outfit Nice.

Ratcliffe, 71, completed an £88.77million purchase of the Ligue 1 side back in 2019.

This season the club secured a Europa League place after finishing 5th in the French top flight.

However, because Ratcliffe and co have now also brought a 27.7 per cent stake in Man Utd, it may cause problems for the Old Trafford outfit under Uefa‘s multi-club ownership rules.

According to L’Equipe, Ineos’ stake has come with a plan to invest a further £245m for infrastructure works which would take their ownership to more than 30 per cent.

Passing this threshold would put Ineos in violation of ownership rules and force one of the teams to be relegated to the Conference League.

Normally, Nice would be granted the spot over Man Utd thanks to a higher league finish – with Man Utd finishing 8th in the Premier League.

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But victory in the FA Cup may see Man Utd take precedence for Ineos in the event a decision has to be made in that regard.

Article 5.01 b. of the Uefa regulations states no individual “may simultaneously be involved, either 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.”

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This would have seen Man Utd face being booted out of European football entirely.

Fortunately for them, in March Uefa relaxed its rules on multi-club ownership ahead of the 2024/25 season.

And Article 5.04 now says a club that is replaced in one competition “may still be admitted to another UEFA club competition (i.e. in descending order: UEFA Europa League or UEFA Conference League) to which the relevant national association has access”.

Earlier this season, Brighton and Aston Villa were only allowed to play in Uefa competitions when their owners reduced their stakes in clubs on the continent to under 30 per cent.

Ineos issued a statement in response to the threat.

They said: “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.”

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