Mike Ashley’s involvement with both Newcastle United and Rangers means that one of the clubs could be stopped playing in Europe in the future if both happen to qualify.
Mike Ashley – Newcastle United owner
UEFA have today confirmed that both Newcastle and Rangers will not be allowed to play in European competition together – even if they qualify for different competitions.
Mike Ashley has essentially taken control of Glasgow Rangers and he owns Newcastle United outright, and should both Rangers and Newcastle qualify for Europe – maybe even that could happen for next season – only the highest ranking club will be allowed to participate.
And the plot thickens, because if one qualifies for the Champions League and one qualifies for the Europa League that was thought to be OK because they wouldn’t play each other.
But according to UEFA only the highest ranking club would be allowed to enter the competition because it’s possible that a Champions League teams misses the knock-out rounds and qualifies for the Europa League.
In that case the two clubs could play each other, and that’s not allowed under UEFA rules, which seem to be stronger than it seemed the Newcastle owner had realized.
The problems with the UEFA rules on dual ownership is that they have never really been tested, but the UEFA announcement means that when (not if) Rangers are back in the Scottish Premier League and qualifying for Europe every season, only the highest ranking of the two clubs would be allowed to enter the competition.
It’s not as if Mike Ashley is too fond of the Europa League in any case, since there are lots of games in the competition and not much money to be made.
But it’s not as if both clubs qualify for Europe then Mike Ashley would have a choice of which club enters the competition – interpretations of the rules by UEFA say that only the highest ranking club gets to play in Europe.
Currently Newcastle United are ranked by UEFA at number 65 and Rangers are ranked at 101 – but the Rangers ranking is likely to improve a lot once they are back in the Scottish Premier League.
Real Madrid are currently ranked number one, Barcelona two and Bayern Munich three in the rankings, with Chelsea next at number four.
It’s likely Rangers could be ranked close to Celtic once they are back in the SPL and competing in Europe every season – and Celtic are currently ranked at number 50 by UEFA – above Newcastle United.
It seems that Mike Ashley may have made a miscalculation.
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