GENEVA — Spanish side Girona and French club Nice were cleared along with English teams Manchester City and United to play in European competitions next season after they complied with multi-club ownership rules, UEFA said on Friday.

Girona finished third in La Liga to qualify for the Champions League for the first time. Nice placed fifth in Ligue 1 to reach the Europa League, along with FA Cup winner United. English Premier League champion City will play in the Champions League.

The first chamber of the UEFA club financial control body had previously opened proceedings against all four clubs due to a potential conflict with the multi-club ownership rule for UEFA club competitions.

British industrialist Jim Ratcliffe's INEOS group part-owns Man United, having secured an initial 25% stake in February. He completed a takeover of Nice in 2019.

Man City’s Abu Dhabi ownership expanded its global club portfolio in 2017 by investing in Girona. City Football Group — of which City is the flagship team — bought a 44.3% share.

UEFA said it was satisfied.

“The significant changes made to the ownership, governance, and financial support of the concerned clubs, substantially restrict the investors’ influence and decision-making power over more than one club,” UEFA said.

“The concerned investors have transferred their shares in Girona FC and OGC Nice to independent trustees through a blind trust structure established under the supervision of the CFCB First Chamber.”

As such, clubs will not transfer players to each other — either permanently or on loan — from July until September next year, except for pre-existing transfer agreements entered into before the CFCB proceedings began.

Clubs must not conclude any joint technical or commercial agreements between each other, or use joint scouting or player databases.

Girona's stunning run last season saw three key players either loaned or sold via Man City’s influence, including Brazilian star Sávio. Girona is also part-owned by the brother of Man City manager Pep Guardiola.

But teams severely tested UEFA’s rules on multi-club ownership that guard against collusion in games. Girona risked being demoted to the second-tier Europa League.

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