Manchester City and Girona owners have UCL clearance options

Abu Dhabi investors Manchester City And Girona were offered divestment options by UEFA to allow both countries to compete in the Champions League next season respecting the integrity rules for teams sharing owners.

Girona completed a stunning run to secure a top-four finish in the Spanish championship The leaguewith three key players loaned or sold via Man City's influence, including the Brazilian star Savio.

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Girona, also part-owned by Man City manager Pep Guardiola's brother, will take part in Europe's elite competition for the first time. City won the 2023 Champions League title and will finish top two in the table. English Premier League.

But the teams have UEFA rules severely tested on multi-club ownership which protects against collusion in games.

Failing to follow UEFA rules with a proposal by June 3 should see one of the two teams, likely Girona, demoted to second tier. Europa League. The team that finishes better in its national championship has priority.

According to a UEFA document seen Tuesday by the Associated Press, two options are open to the City Football Group, the operation created in Abu Dhabi with stakes in 13 clubs around the world, including 100% from Man City and 47%. from Girona.

CFG could solve the problem by selling shares to an independent third party that would reduce a stake to less than 30%, or by transferring all of a club's shares to a blind trust overseen by a UEFA-appointed panel.

The administrator could be chosen by CFG according to a model approved by UEFA and applied this season as part of a compliance agreement for AC Milan, Toulouse and their American investor Red Bird Capital.

The issue of multi-club ownership for UEFA and CFG has loomed large since Girona's rapid start to the top of the league in September.

UEFA has refused to comment on the entire season pending Girona's confirmed Champions League qualification this month. UEFA has also not commented on a possible outstanding issue regarding Jim Ratcliffe's holdings and influence within Manchester United And Good — both could qualify for the next Europa League.

UEFA's Club Finance Monitoring Committee wrote to football stakeholders on Tuesday to clarify updates to its multi-club rules for access to European club competitions which were first drafted this season 1998-99.

Man City and Girona have drawn attention to the fact that CFG has “decisive influence” over both, as the Abu Dhabi operation holds at least 30% of the shares in both and due to the transfer transactions of the clubs this season.

Girona appeared to meet the UEFA panel's criteria for clubs which “have transferred, permanently or temporarily, three or more players with the other club, directly or indirectly via related parties, during the season”.

Girona has two players from other CFG clubs in its squad: right-back Yan Coutoon loan from Man City, and winger Sávio, on loan from French club Troyes.

Sávio is the revelation of the season in Spain. His dribbling and speed on the left flank caused chaos in the opposing defenses.

The 20-year-old has scored 10 times and is one of the best passers in the league with nine passes on target. Sávio's permanent move to Man City at the end of the season, announced in February, is not expected to be affected by any UEFA decision.

Couto excelled joining the attack from his right-back position, dishing out eight assists.

After completing a loan move to Girona, the Venezuelan midfielder Yangel Herrera was sold by City to its sister club last July.

Man City was bought in 2008 by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family.

The CFG was established five years later, with Man City, now Premier League champions for the first time, acting as the flagship club in a global portfolio that soon included teams on several continents.

The first came New York City FC in 2013, then Melbourne City in the Australian A-League, Girona in Spain, Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan, Sichuan Jiuniu FC in China, Club Atletico Torque in Uruguay and Mumbai City in India joined the group, which also had a ” collaboration agreement”. ” with the Venezuelan team Atletico Venezuela.

CFG bought Girona in 2017, weeks after first gaining promotion to the Spanish top flight. Pere Guardiola acquired a stake which now stands at 16%.

In recent years, CFG has acquired stakes in European clubs Lommel in Belgium, Palermo in Italy and Troyes.

The CFG stable of clubs is one of the most extensive multi-club groups in a growing global trend that UEFA itself says poses risks to the football industry.

Critics say it can enable collusion in games and the transfer market and help top clubs spread and hide their costs to comply with financial oversight rules.

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