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Billionaire Eyeing Man United Might Have to Sell French Club Stake

  • Current UEFA rules prohibit two clubs under the same ownership from both participating in European club competition.
  • Jim Ratcliffe is a finalist to buy Manchester United and owns a stake in OGC Nice.
Players from Daniel Ratcliffe's club, OGC Nice, gather together on field during a home match
OGC Nice

If Jim Ratcliffe’s bid for Manchester United is successful, he’ll likely have to give up his stake in another European soccer club.

The British billionaire and his company INEOS — which he founded in 1998 and serves as its chairman and CEO — hold a stake in Ligue 1 side OGC Nice.

Current UEFA rules state that an owner is only allowed to have one club in a European club competition at any given time — meaning that if Ratcliffe wins the race to buy Man United, the club would risk being excluded from the Champions League or Europa League if Nice were also to qualify.

Therefore, Ratcliffe could be forced into selling his portion in Nice should his bid win out for the chance to buy United, according to ESPN. Ratcliffe, a lifelong Manchester United fan, would probably happily oblige.

Manchester United players celebrate together after a goal

Manchester United Turns Profit Ahead of Potential Sale

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Earlier in March, UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin said that the federation is considering softening its rules pertaining to shared ownership across its competitions.

Ratcliffe could also demonstrate that there is enough separation between his clubs to justify letting them play in the same competition, such as Red Bull did with its Leipzig and Salzburg clubs in 2017.

It’s far from a sure thing that Ratcliffe will even win the bidding war for Manchester United. Qatar’s Sheikh ­Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani reportedly submitted a bid “in the ballpark” of the Glazer family’s $7.4 billion asking price for the club — but Ratcliffe did not.

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