Italian soccer giants AC Milan and English Premier League clubs Aston Villa and Brighton and Hove Albion have been permitted to compete in European club competitions this season after making “significant changes” to comply with UEFA’s multi-club ownership rules.
The decision by European soccer’s governing body was made after it investigated a "potential conflict with the multi-club ownership rule provided for in Article 5 of the UEFA club competitions regulations.”
Private equity group RedBird Capital Partners is the majority owner of both Milan and French side Toulouse, while Aston Villa's owners have a stake in Portugal’s Vitoria Guimaraes and Tony Bloom owns both Brighton and Belgium’s Union Saint-Gilloise.
In the upcoming 2023-24 season, Milan will be playing in Europe’s top-tier UEFA Champions League club competition and Toulouse in the secondary Europa League.
Brighton will also be playing in the Europa League, with Union Saint-Gilloise in the playoffs for the same competition.
Villa will feature in the third-tier Conference League and may be joined by Vitoria Guimaraes, who are in the second qualifying round for that competition.
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The ruling made by the UEFA Club Financial Control Body stated that “no club, either directly or indirectly, holds or deals in securities or shares of any other club participating in a UEFA club competition.”
The body added that “no one has control or decisive influence over more than one club in a UEFA club competition.”
UEFA outlined that the changes made by the clubs “substantially restrict the investors’ influence and decision-making power over more than one club, ensuring compliance with the multi-club ownership rule.”
The changes include “significant restrictions in the ability to provide financing to more than one club” and a requirement for “no representation on the board of directors and no capacity to directly appoint new directors on the board of more than one club.”
In addition, the respective teams agreed they would not transfer players to each other "permanently or on loan, directly or indirectly, until September 2024" or "use any joint scouting or player database." They will also “not enter into any kind of cooperation, joint technical or commercial agreements.”
The V Sports holding company through which Villa are owned purchased a 46% stake in Vitoria Guimaraes earlier this year.