Man Utd face European ban NEXT season 
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Man Utd face European ban NEXT season 

Manchester United are facing the strong possibility of being barred from European competition next season after UEFA stuck by their rules of multi-club ownership – but Sir Sir Jim Ratcliffe has a plan in place to remedy the situation in years to come.

The Red Devils have suffered fluctuating fortunes this season, with Erik ten Hag failing to get a consistent tune out of his players with their form at one stage leading to the club suffering their worst start to a season since 1930/31. As a result, the Dutchman has seen his job come under serious scrutiny with multiple reports suggesting his job is on the line and he could he sacked as Manchester United manager.

Indeed, TEAMtalk was the first to break the news that senior figures at Old Trafford feel Ten Hag is a dead man walking at Old Trafford and that a change is certain to be made.

Since our revelation, multiple outlets, including the Daily Mail and the Manchester Evening News – the latter of whom understandably do have to tread extremely carefully – have followed our lead with the same claim.

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However, Ten Hag continues to battle on and the 54-year-old does still have some backing at club, whil last weekend’s thrilling 4-3 victory over Liverpool in the FA Cup quarter-finals illustrated exactly what they are capable of when playing to their best.

Nonetheless, any decision on his future will be decided at the end of the season, with the final decision resting with new minority shareholder Ratcliffe, who has also been granted full sporting control at Old Trafford.

Much of his decision will likely rest on two factors: Manchester United winning the FA Cup and upon their sealing of a place in the Champions League next season.

TEAMtalk has also learned that while Ten Hag is a man under pressure, hitting those two goals would make his removal as manager exceedingly difficult.

However, while they are strong favourites to reach the FA Cup final, given they have been paired with Championship outfit Coventry in the semi-finals and giving them a big shot at winning the trophy, they do remain well off the pace in the hunt for a Champions League place.

As it stands, United are sixth on 47 points, six adrift of Tottenham in fifth and a further three points behind Aston Villa in fourth.

And while UEFA’s expanded Champions League format next season means fifth is likely to qualify, it would need a big uplift in form over their remaining 10 matches to overhaul the sides above them.

As a result, it is likely they will be competing in the Europa League next season – but that comes as a huge blow in addition to the obvious cash shortfall it will see the club suffer owing to the drop in revenues between the two competitions.

More significantly, United face big sanctions from European competition next season after UEFA finally published their rulings regarding multi-club ownership.

And with INEOS also owning Ligue 1 side Nice, it means there is a strong possibility of United facing European punishment as a result.

Their updated lawbook states that while clubs under the same ownership can compete in different European competitions next season, the ban on clubs competing in the same tournament leaves United in a state of panic.

Sir Sir Ratcliffe eager to challenge law as UEFA issues warning
The problem has arisen as a result of Nice’s slump in France’s top flight. For several months they had looked well placed to secure Champions League football next season. However, a run of just one win in seven games has seen them slump from second to fifth – and means a spot in next season’s Europa League – much like Manchester United – remains their likely outcome.

A UEFA insider, speaking to The Sun, has confirmed the ruling that will likely block United from competing in the same competition next season.

“It is correct that Manchester United and Nice cannot play in the same competition,” the source said.

“They could play in different competitions, as there is no ‘feeding’ between competitions any more.”

The news will come as a major blow to Ratcliffe, who was told as recently as last month that the ruling will be changed in time for the new season and was not expecting his ownership of Nice to complicate matters for United in such a way.

It is now claimed the British billionaire is lobbying UEFA to make the change – possibly in time for next season – but more likely ahead of the 2025/26 campaign, where the rulings set to come under review once again.

However, it is unlikely any changes will be made in time for next season, leaving United with a potentially-significant cash blow.

There is some hope for United, because, as it stands Nice are currently ranked higher than the Red Devils in UEFA’s system.

However, victory in the FA Cup would see them overhaul the French side in that system and see Nice having to play second fiddle, potentially relegating them to play in UEFA Conference League instead.

But a failure to win the FA Cup and, if both finish in the same European competition, Nice will take precedence, meaning United will drop into the lower ranked competition themselves.

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