Man Utd bidder ‘could be forced to sell stake’ in Ligue 1 club to ‘avoid Champions League exclusion’

·3-min read
Man Utd takeover Credit: Alamy
Man Utd takeover Credit: Alamy

Sir Jim Ratcliffe could reportedly ‘be forced to sell’ his stake in Ligue 1 club Nice if his takeover of Man Utd is successful.

The British billionaire is among the candidates in the running to buy Manchester United from the Glazer family.

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The club’s current owners put the Premier League outfit up for sale last November and the second round of bidding has now taken place.

It has consistently been reported in recent months that the Glazer family want around £6bn if they are going to sell Man Utd. 

Earlier this week, it was claimed that the latest bids from Ratcliffe and Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim ‘fell short’ of this asking price.

Another problem Ratcliffe may face is that he is currently the owner of Ligue 1 outfit Nice. ESPN are reporting that he ‘could be forced to sell his stake in the French club to avoid the prospect of one of his teams being excluded from the Champions League if he wins the race to buy out the Glazer family’.

If Ratcliffe’s takeover of Man Utd is completed, his company – INEOS – would be the owners of three clubs as they also control Swiss side FC Lausanne-Sport.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin recently suggested that he was willing to review regulations surrounding multi-club ownership.

As things stand, ‘Ratcliffe would contravene existing rules if both United and Nice qualified for the same UEFA competition under his ownership’.

Currently, two clubs owned by the same person/group are forbidden from competing against each other in the same UEFA competition.

Ratcliffe may not end up having to worry about this as Sheikh Jassim is a strong competitor in the takeover process.

The Qatari businessman submitted his second bid for Man Utd a couple of days after the initial deadline. Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol has since reported that “there were some concerns that the Qataris were playing games”.

“Everyone wants to know exactly how much the bid from the Qataris is worth, but that exact figure is not being given away,” Solhekol told Sky Sports.

“I think there were some concerns that the Qataris were playing games in terms of the delay in submitting their second bid, because they went very quiet all week. There was this request that went in on Tuesday for more time and then there was silence until the bid went in overnight on Friday.

“There were people in the US who were beginning to wonder whether the Qataris were actually going to bid, but the information we had was the Qataris were always going to bid. They were just taking their time.

“One way of looking at this could be that the Qataris are just playing a little bit of poker. They want to make the Glazers sweat a little bit.

“They don’t want to make the Glazers think they’re desperate to buy Manchester United, but of course behind the scenes, they are 100 per cent committed to buying Manchester United. They just want to make sure they get the best possible price.”

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