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UEFA to Man City's owners: Reduce stake in Girona

FootballMay 15, 16:31
UEFA announced on Wednesday that City Football Group, the owning entity of Manchester City, is required to decrease its ownership in Girona for the Spanish club to participate in the upcoming Champions League season.
Since 2017, City Group has held a 47 percent stake in Liga club Girona.
Following an impressive season where they briefly challenged Real Madrid for the Spanish title, Girona is set to finish in the top four, securing their spot in next season's Champions League.
Nevertheless, UEFA's Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) issued a letter to football stakeholders on Tuesday, detailing revisions to the regulations governing multi-club ownership for entry into pan-European competitions.
The regulations prohibit two clubs with the same ownership from competing in the same European competition, and the CFCB clarified that this rule applies not only to cases where a party controls the majority shares but also to situations of "decisive influence" over multiple clubs.
Although City Group does not own a majority of Girona, the CFCB's letter mentioned that ownership of "30 percent or more of a club's total shares, or a similar proportion of voting or economic rights," is considered sufficient to exert "decisive influence" in a club’s decision-making processes.
The letter also referenced other indicators of decisive influence, such as accounting for at least 30 percent of a club’s operating income through avenues like sponsorship deals, occupying key roles within the club's hierarchy, or transferring at least three players between clubs within the same season.
Should Manchester City and Girona both qualify for the Champions League next season, City Group must reduce its ownership in the Catalan club by UEFA’s June 3 deadline.
To sidestep the economically disadvantageous quick sale of shares, the CFCB's letter presents a provisional measure allowing clubs to place shares in a blind trust overseen by UEFA, though this solution is only available for the upcoming season.
Non-compliance by City Group could result in Girona, which finished lower than Manchester City in their respective domestic leagues, being relegated to the Europa League.
UEFA has updated its integrity rules to address potential conflicts of interest, prompted by the growth of multi-club ownerships like City Group, which holds complete or partial stakes in 13 clubs worldwide.
Last year, UEFA's regulations concerning multi-club ownership led to investigations into Toulouse and AC Milan, Aston Villa and Portuguese club Vitoria, as well as Brighton and Union Saint-Gilloise in Belgium.
UEFA later concluded these investigations after the clubs involved made "significant changes" to curtail the influence of their respective investors.
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