UEFA has issued a warning over multi-club ownership models being a potential threat to the integrity of European football.
Fairness within the transfer market was pinpointed by European football’s governing body, as being significantly at threat with the growth of multi-club ownership, a model particularly favourable amongst US investors.
According to a report by The Financial Times, UEFA stated: “The rise of multi-club investment has the potential to pose a material threat to the integrity of European club competitions, with a growing risk of seeing two clubs with the same owner or investor facing each other on the pitch.”
It comes as Qatari investors are reportedly eyeing a stake in Manchester United, a move that would draw significant attention from world football, with Qatar Sports Investments (QIS) already owning French champions Paris Saint Germain.
UEFA rules currently restrict groups from owning more than one club that could compete in the same competition – describing it as a conflict of interest for the group.
With a process that is set to be extensive, UEFA’s resolve over ownership rules will likely be tested with the Gulf State’s Old Trafford venture – with the move likely to be endorsed by a wide variety of groups.
The soft deadline for bids to buy Manchester United, set by the Glazer family, is Friday with the current asking price reportedly set in excess of £6bn, further increasing the likelihood of a potential Qatari takeover gaining traction, with few global consortiums having the financial leverage to mount a serious bid.
Furthermore, Manchester United ownership and QIS will also point to Red Bull’s ownership of Salzburg and Leipzig as being evidence that multi-club ownership doesn’t always represent a conflict of interest.
Key to the allowing of the duo of Red Bull owned clubs was that they highlighted that key executives at the forefront of their structure had taken a step back when it comes to the day-to-day running of the club, something that may well present an opportunity for Qatar should they further elevate their exploration of the acquisition of Manchester United.
English Premier League champions, Manchester City are also a part of a wider footballing group, the City Football Group (CFG), which are listed as the primary owner of Manchester City FC, along with other clubs across the globe such as New York City FC, Melbourne City FC, and more.
CFG are a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi United Group and also own a majority stake in European clubs Girona FC and Palermo FC, but the Spanish and Italian clubs are not currently involved in UEFA competitions.
City’s ownership dealings have been brought into question by the Premier League and ultimately charged by the English football body, claiming up to 100 charges of Financial Fair Play rule breaking against the Manchester club.