Sir Jim Ratcliffe makes drastic decision to avoid Manchester United being barred from Europa League

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has found a way to prevent United getting thrown out.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe has reportedly taken a drastic decision to avoid Manchester United being thrown out of the Europa League.

United qualified for the UEFA Europa League by beating neighbours Manchester City in the FA Cup final last month, but their place in the competition is not yet guaranteed.

That’s because United’s minority owner INEOS – who purchased a 27.7 per cent stake in the club earlier this year – also owns OGC Nice.

The French club have also qualified for the Europa League, but UEFA rules prevent clubs which share an owner from playing in the same competitions.

According to the Independent, INEOS chief Ratcliffe has decided to resolve the issue by selling Nice.

The expectation is that United and Nice will be give a one-season transition by UEFA, allowing them to both compete in the Europa League.

That temporary fix would likely see Nice placed in a ‘blind trust’, as was the case last season when Red Bird Capital-owned AC Milan and Toulouse both competed in Europe.

After that though, under the current ownership situation they would not be allowed to compete in the same competition as UEFA are expected to adopt a stricter approach in 2025-26.

Another factor is that Ratcliffe wants to focus on his role at Old Trafford, having achieved a lifelong ambition of running his boyhood club.

The sale of Nice could be complicated by the precarious financial position of French football. Ligue 1 has failed to secure a broadcast partner for next season, with forecasts falling from a potential €1billion deal to just €500 million.

Independent sources say that while INEOS has not yet entered into any talks with potential buyers, the feeling is that the club’s unique location will play to its advantage.

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