UEFA decision on Man Utd and Man City sets precedent for Liverpool owners FSG

Sir Jim Ratcliffe's Ineos own both Manchester United and Nice
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

UEFA has allowed Ineos-owned Manchester United and Nice to compete in the same European competition - setting a precedent that opens the door for FSG to potentially invest in another club - but there are restrictions in place.

United and Nice can participate in the Europa League next season along with Liverpool, despite both clubs being owned by Ineos. Ineos chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe agreed to a 27.7 percent stakeholding in the Red Devils on Christmas Eve and is listed as one of the club's co-owners.

UEFA confirmed Ineos had implemented "significant changes" to comply with the multi-club ownership rule after United achieved qualification via their FA Cup victory. There were concerns the club would be denied entry to the Europa League with Nice already in the pot, but those fears have been allayed.

READ MORE: Liverpool given fresh Bruno Guimaraes transfer hope after Newcastle twist

READ MORE: Liverpool confirms latest new agreement as $380m target chased down by FSG

UEFA revealed INEOS proved that “no one is simultaneously involved, 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; and no one has control or decisive influence over more than one club participating in a UEFA club competition.

“More specifically, the significant changes made to the ownership, governance, and financial support of the concerned clubs, substantially restrict the investors’ influence and decision-making power over more than one club, ensuring compliance with the multi-club ownership rule during the 2024/25 season.

“In particular, the concerned investors have transferred their shares in OGC Nice to independent trustees through a blind trust structure established under the supervision of the CFCB First Chamber. Such blind trust was accepted by the CFCB First Chamber on an exceptional basis for the 2024/25 UEFA competitions. The trustees will regularly exchange information with the CFCB First Chamber during the 2024/25 season.”

John Henry and FSG are interested in buying another football club
John Henry and FSG are interested in buying another football club -Credit:Getty Images

Back in April, FSG appointed Michael Edwards as their new CEO of Football as part of the expansion of their portfolio within football. Edwards' appointment was a suggestion of FSG’s intention to purchase another club, which is expected to benefit Liverpool in terms of players signed.

However, the INEOS-Nice connection has some downsides even if they are allowed to compete against one another. Nice and United cannot transfer players between the clubs, both on loan or permanently, and they cannot engage in any level of cooperation, technical or commercial agreements. The clubs are also barred from sharing a scouting or player database.

Last month, Ratcliffe criticized the inability to transfer players between Nice and United amid links between the Premier League club and French defender Jean-Clair Todibo. He said: “They've said we can sell him to another Premier League club. But we can't sell to Manchester United. But that's not fair on the player and I don't see what that achieves.”

FSG will keep a close eye on these developments. The precedent was set by Manchester City last season, who were allowed to play in the Champions League with Girona but banned transfers between them for a year. However, City will be able to sign players from Girona going forward because their agreement predates UEFA possessing strict regulations on multi-club ownership.

Whether or not FSG has any immediate plans to add another football team to its portfolio is unclear. But it at least now has. greater understanding of what that would entail should they acquire another team with European ambitions.