UEFA Champins League: No room for two Red Bulls?

first_imgThe fairytale that has been RasenBallsport Leipzig, or more commonly known as RB Leipzig, may not yet be over. Recent results have let them down, which saw Bayern Munich retaining the German Bundesliga for a record fifth time in a row, last week.Though RB Leipzig have broken Bayern’s long-standing  (since 1965/66) season record, for most the German Bundesliga wins by a promoted team (20), sealing the Vizemeister (runners-up) crown, with requiring just a point from their remaining two games, after their 4-1 win over Hertha Berlin this weekend.For a team to challenge for the title in the very season in the top flight is not only remarkable, but almost unheard of, in a league like the Bundesliga. They challenged eventual winners, Bayern for the top spot up till the last four weeks of the competition, but Champions League isn’t really too bad of a consolation prize.But according to recent reports in the German papers, RB Leipzig may not be able to celebrate, yet.The only Eastern German team in the Bundesliga is running the risk of missing out on continental competition next year, if Austrian outfit Red Bull Salzburg manages to win the Austrian Bundesliga. And with only a handful games left in the league, and a lead of 12 points, they are more than likely to win, their eighth Austrian championship in 11 years.If indeed that is the case, only one team from the two will qualify for Europe, Champions League and Europa League, next season.But, how is that possible one may wonder?advertisementAccording to the UEFA, teams owned by the same company, sponsor or individual – or those that share staff members or resources – can’t take part in the two continental competitions.Article 2 of UEFA’s regulations for the Champions League – titled “Integrity of the Competition” – states that in such a case, the team finishing higher in its domestic league would get to play in UEFA competitions.Article 2.01 To ensure the integrity of the UEFA club competitions, the following criteria apply:a) no club participating in a UEFA club competition may, either directly or indirectly:i) hold or deal in the securities or shares of any other club participatingin a UEFA club competition,ii) be a member of any other club participating in a UEFA club competition,iii) be involved in any capacity whatsoever in the management, administration and/or sporting performance of any other club participating in a UEFA club competition, oriv) have any power whatsoever in the management, administration and/or sporting performance of any other club participating in a UEFA club competition;b) no one may simultaneously be involved, either directly or indirectly, in any capacity whatsoever in the management, administration and/or sporting 4 performance of more than one club participating in a UEFA club competition;c) no individual or legal entity may have control or influence over more than one club participating in a UEFA club competition, such control or influence being defined in this context as:i) holding a majority of the shareholders’ voting rights;ii) having the right to appoint or remove a majority of the members of the administrative, management or supervisory body of the club;iii) being a shareholder and alone controlling a majority of the shareholders’ voting rights pursuant to an agreement entered into with other shareholders of the club; oriv) being able to exercise by any means a decisive influence in the decision-making of the club.The connections between the two teams, RB Leipzig and Red Bull Salzburg, on the surface, are obvious.Both clubs play their home games in a stadium named Red Bull Arena, and both play in red and white jerseys with a huge Red Bull logo in the middle of their shirts, apart from the not-so-subtle inclusion of Red Bull in both the names of clubs.As things unravel and a connection is firmly established between the two teams, Red Bull Salzburg will have European nights to look forward to as they will qualify as league winners and not runners-up, even if they will have to play a knockout round to get into the Champions League group stage. A UEFA spokesperson said in that a decision on the matter can be taken in June when the list of participating clubs taking part in UEFA European competitions is published.”All criteria, including matters of ownership, will be verified for each club by UEFA only once we have received the competition entry forms and documentation from the national football associations and clubs, following the end of the season in the respective leagues,” UEFA said in a statement.advertisementGerman news agency SID, quoted Oliver Mintzlaff, global head of soccer for Red Bull and RB Leipzig CEO, “If we qualify there is no reason why we should have any doubts about playing in Europe next season.”Even though there can be no doubts that both the clubs’ finances are definitely controlled by Red Bull, the company maintains that it does not in sense ‘own’ them, hence meeting the UEFA’s criteria and are sure that both will be able to play  in the Champions League.  Red Bull is only the title sponsor of Red Bull Salzburg, getting around the Austria’s club licensing laws, just like they have done is Germany, with naming company employees in the club board and giving shares to their employees to make a mockery of the German FA’s  ’50+1 rule’.Red Bull though has already started taking measures to make sure that they don’t flout UEFA’s rules.The technical director for all the Red Bull teams, even for their Major League Soccer franchise New York Red Bull, Ralf Rangnick has stepped down from his post and is now only associated with RB Leipzig.Oliver Mintzlaff also gave up his post as Red Bull’s global head of soccer only last month, to be associated only with the German team.last_img

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