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Man United Could Get Knocked Out of Europe Next Season Ahead of Jim Ratcliffe Takeover
- Manchester United risk getting knocked out of European football next season
- Sir Jim Ratcliffe's ties with Nice would complicate things for Erik ten Hag's side
- Sports Brief analyses the permutations United need to play in Europe next season
Manchester United fans are counting the number of days until Sir Jim Ratcliffe takes over as the minority owner of the crisis-riddled club.
At some point, the fans had hoped that the current owners, the Glazer family, would relinquish maximum control and sell the entire club, only for them to backtrack and only put 25% up for sale.
Ratcliffe is understood to be coming in with sweeping administrative powers on football operations, with a new Chief Executive Officer and technical director as possible positions he would seek to change.
However, against the backdrop of a new lease of hope in the red side of Manchester comes the fear they might be kicked out of Europe next year - should they fail to better or match Nice's position in Ligue 1.
United and UEFA's multi-club ownership act
Article 5C of UEFA's multi-club ownership act states that:
"No individual or legal entity may have control or influence over more than one club participating in a UEFA club competition, such control or influence."
Alongside his new stake at Man United, Ratcliffe remains the owner of Nice in France as well. The UEFA Act, therefore, stipulates that two clubs owned by the same person, or a person who can influence the decision-making processes of a club, cannot participate in the same club competition.
Therefore, the Red Devils cannot afford to finish lower than Nice since only one of the teams owned by the same person can be entered. The criteria are based on merit.
Nice is currently second in Ligue 1 behind Paris Saint-Germain, which means an automatic UEFA Champions League qualification. Since a Champions League team can drop to the Europa League after the group stage, Man United won't be allowed in the second-fiddle competition either.
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How Man United can qualify for European football
If Man United were to match Nice's position - let's say they both finish in fourth place - then the French club would be knocked out since the Premier League is ranked higher than the French league on Annex A of the UEFA Act.
If Nice were to finish in fourth place, the Red Devils would need to finish higher than them, match them, or be knocked out of Europe altogether.
This is because a fourth place in Ligue 1 means the team enters the Champions League through the playoff round with the possible risk of failing to qualify and dropping to the Europa League. Once in the Europa League, they can drop down to the Conference League after the group stage.
Technically speaking, Erik ten Hag shouldn't be worried about improving his current eight-place position alone but should also keep an eye out on how Francesco Farioli's side performs in France.
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The same case applies to Chelsea and Strasbourg, though Mauricio Pochettino can breathe easy given the French club's current dalliance with relegation.
How did Ratcliffe perform at Nice?
Sports Brief has also reported on Ratcliffe's track record at the French club offering some insights into how his influence could shape the Premier League club's future.
The words of a French football transfer expert about how Ratcliffe had managed Nice in Ligue 1 could be a worrying sign that the United fans could keep a close watch on.