Sir Jim Ratcliffe willing to ‘sacrifice’ Nice control to help Manchester United’s Champions League ambitions

Sir Jim Ratcliffe willing to sacrifice Nice to help Manchester United in UCL pursuit

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s recent takeover of Manchester United has sparked discussions regarding potential conflicts of interest due to his ownership of both United and French club Nice. Ratcliffe, whose INEOS group acquired a 25% stake in United, also controls Nice, raising concerns about compliance with UEFA’s regulations on multi-club ownership.

While Ratcliffe’s acquisition of United remained celebrated by his INEOS team, it has prompted scrutiny over the implications for Nice’s aspirations in European competitions. Nice, currently third in Ligue 1, are vying for a spot in the Champions League next season, a goal that could clash with United’s ambitions in the Premier League.

According to UEFA regulations, if both United and Nice were to qualify for the Champions League, the team finishing higher in their respective league standings would secure the spot, while the other would see themselves excluded. This scenario presents a potential dilemma for Ratcliffe, as his ownership of both clubs could lead to conflicting interests.

Hopefully, Manchester United play in the UEFA Champions League next season.
Hopefully, Manchester United play in the UEFA Champions League next season.

This would be nice for United; or rather United for Nice

To navigate this issue, Ratcliffe is considering relinquishing control of Nice to prioritize United’s interests. While INEOS has been the majority shareholder at Nice since August 2019, Ratcliffe is willing to take a step back from his involvement with the French club to avoid any conflicts of interest.

The Telegraph via The Mirror report that Ratcliffe is prepared to allow Nice to operate as a ‘stand-alone’ entity within the INEOS group, separate from his focus on United. This move would align with UEFA’s regulations, which prohibit one owner or entity from exerting “decisive influence” across multiple clubs.

Despite his significant stake in Nice, Ratcliffe’s priority appears to be ensuring compliance with UEFA’s rules and safeguarding United’s pursuit of success in European competitions. While he plans to seek clarification from UEFA on the matter, Ratcliffe is open to restructuring his involvement with Nice to prioritise United’s interests.

We have not lived up to the billing in Europe's elite club competition in recent years.
We have not lived up to the billing in Europe’s elite club competition in recent years.

In doing so, Ratcliffe aims to mitigate any potential conflicts of interest and ensure that both United and Nice can pursue their respective goals without interference or complications.

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By considering the possibility of relinquishing control of Nice, Ratcliffe demonstrates a commitment to upholding the integrity of both clubs and complying with regulatory requirements. While we do not have a lot to do with Nice, it shows what a great man Ratcliffe is, doing as much as doing away with his interest in Nice for the sake of his boyhood club.