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Soccer-UEFA relax multi-club ownership rules, allow Milan and Villa to compete in Europe

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(Reuters) – UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) has cleared the way for several teams to compete in next season’s competitions after Europe’s soccer governing body relaxed its rules on multi-club ownership, it said on Friday.

Aston Villa and Vitoria Sport Clube, Brighton & Hove Albion and Royal Union Saint-Gilloise, plus AC Milan and Toulouse had had proceedings opened against them due to a potential conflict with the multi-club ownership rule.

Milan and Toulouse are majority owned by RedBird Capital Partners while Aston Villa owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens have a stake in Vitoria. Brighton owner Tony Bloom has a stake in Royal Union Saint-Gilloise.

“Following the implementation of significant changes by the clubs and their related investors, the CFCB First Chamber accepted the admission of the aforementioned clubs to the UEFA club competitions for the 2023-24 season,” UEFA said.

“The CFCB found that the significant changes implemented brought the clubs into compliance with the multi-club ownership rule.”

The rules say no club may hold or deal in securities or shares of any other club participating in UEFA’s competitions and that no club can be a member of any other club participating in UEFA competitions.

Furthermore, no one person has the power to be “simultaneously involved” in management, administration and/or sporting performance of any club and they must not have any “control or decisive influence” over more than one club.

“More specifically, the significant changes that were implemented relate to the ownership, governance and financing structure of the concerned clubs,” UEFA added.

“These changes substantially restrict the investors’ influence and decision-making power over more than one club, ensuring compliance with the multi-club ownership rule.

“Some of the significant actions taken include significant reduction of the investors’ shareholding in one of the clubs, or transfer of the effective control and decision making of one of the clubs to an independent party (and) significant restrictions in the ability to provide financing to more than one club.”

The clubs will not be allowed to transfer players to each other — permanently or on loan — until September 2024 and cannot share scouting databases.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon)

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