MANCHESTER: Manchester United risk dropping out of Europe next season after Jim Ratcliffe, who also owns Nice, took over the Old Trafford club.
Ratcliffe and his company, Ineos, already own Nice and will complete the purchase of 25 percent of United’s shares in the next few days.
Ahead of next season’s Champions League, France’s top flight is given three automatic slots and one play-off while the English Premier League gets five automatic slots.
Under European Football Union (UEFA) multiple ownership rules, the only way for Nice and United to compete on the European stage next season is for one club to automatically qualify for the Champions League and the other for the European Conference League.
Nice are now just one point behind Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain, while United are sixth in the Premier League.
If both clubs qualify for the European Champions League, the higher-placed team will play and the other will be banned from the tournament.
If Nice and United finish in the same position, England’s ranking on the European stage allows Erik ten Hag’s squad to qualify for the European Champions League compared to the French club.
In another situation, if Nice are fourth in Ligue 1 and lose the play-off, while United remain sixth in the English league or win the FA Cup, the Red Devils will still be banned from the Europa League.
United can only aspire to European competition by qualifying for the Conference League through seventh place in the league or winning the League Cup.
The UEFA rules also have an impact on Manchester City and Spanish club Girona, which is owned by City Football Group.
Girona made a surprise in La Liga this season when they topped the ladder ahead of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.