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In recent years, Manchester City has emerged as a dominant force in English football, culminating in their historic Champions League triumph last season as part of a treble achievement. This era of success traces back to 2008 when Sheikh Mansour’s investment transformed the club’s fortunes.

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The City Football Group, the overarching entity that owns Manchester City, has expanded its reach globally since its inception in 2013, encompassing 12 clubs across 12 countries on every continent except Africa. While UEFA regulations currently permit such multi-club ownership, challenges arise when it comes to the simultaneous participation of multiple clubs in European competitions.

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The issue isn’t significant for lower-tier teams like Palermo, Troyes, or Lommel. However, the potential stumbling block lies in Spain with Girona, a club in which the City Football Group holds a 47% stake. Girona’s impressive performance in La Liga raises the prospect of Champions League qualification, creating a conflict under UEFA’s regulations.

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Article 5 of UEFA’s Champions League regulations explicitly prohibits a club from holding shares or securities of another participating club, being a member of another participating club, or exerting influence over its management and sporting performance. This rule aims to prevent conflicts of interest, especially when teams with common ownership face each other.

Girona’s current success mirrors Leicester City’s unexpected rise in the Premier League, and their potential qualification for the Champions League could trigger a conflict with Manchester City’s participation. UEFA rules prioritize the higher-finishing club in its domestic league, posing a potential challenge for Manchester City if Girona outperforms them.

However, an outright ban for Manchester City from the Champions League seems unlikely. UEFA is cautious about impeding teams from competing at the European level, especially in the context of increasing multi-club ownership models. Similar concerns arose with Manchester United’s partial ownership by INEOS, with assurances from UEFA that such situations would be navigated without major issues.

Past cases, such as RB Leipzig and Red Bull Salzburg, highlight that UEFA can adapt rules to address multi-club ownership concerns. Changes, including resignations and severing ties between individuals and clubs, were implemented to satisfy UEFA requirements and permit both clubs’ participation in the Champions League.

In summary, while challenges exist for Manchester City due to multi-club ownership, an outright ban is not the likely outcome, and UEFA may adapt regulations to address such situations.

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