Under threat of losing European competition places, Brighton, Toulouse and Aston Villa were cleared Friday by UEFA to play next season despite their owners having ties to other clubs that qualified, including AC Milan, but all had limits placed on future transfer dealings with their sibling teams.
UEFA drafted rules on multi-club ownership 25 years ago to protect the integrity of its competitions when the teams could be drawn to play each other during the season. UEFA-appointed investigators evaluated three cases in recent weeks.
UEFA noted the “significant changes by the clubs and their related investors” to comply with the rules
“The clubs will not transfer players to each other, whether permanently or on loan, directly or indirectly, until September 2024,” UEFA said in a statement.
Brighton can now make its European debut in the Europa League in September after persuading UEFA’s club finance panel that its owner Tony Bloom does not also have decisive influence at Union Saint-Gilloise. The Belgian club is in the Europa League qualifying playoffs.
French Cup winner Toulouse goes into the Europa League despite its ties to American investment firm RedBird Capital Partners, which also owns Champions League team Milan.
Aston Villa’s American owners reduced their stake last week in Portuguese club Vitória Guimarães and both teams will now enter qualifying rounds for the third-tier Europa Conference League.
In multi-club ownership cases, UEFA rules give priority to the team that placed higher in its domestic league last season. The lower-ranked team risked being removed.
The multi-club rules were most famously tested in 2017 by Leipzig and Salzburg which UEFA let enter the Champions League together despite both being part of the Red Bull group.
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