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Directors linked to Manchester City resign over Champions League decision



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Manchester City’s fate in the upcoming UEFA Champions League campaign has been rescued by the resignation of three directors at sister club Girona.

A remarkable campaign for the Spanish club culminated in a historic third-placed finish in La Liga last season, subsequently meaning that Michel and his players have secured a place in Europe’s premier club competition.

However, with stronger rules surrounding multi-club ownership and its abilities to field more than one club in the same UEFA tournament, uncertainty has shrouded over Manchester City and Girona’s ability to compete next season.

Thankfully, guidelines have been put in place that have enabled both to take part, but only through major changes to the ownership model and how much say the Premier League champions will have at Girona.

As a direct result, a new report has detailed the significant changes that have already been agreed upon at both Girona and Manchester City, which will ensure both teams compete at the very top of European football next season.

As per the information of The Times’ Martyn Ziegler, three board members of Girona have stepped down as directors to enable both themselves and Manchester City to play in the UEFA Champions League next season.

It is further revealed that the City Football Group will also reduce its 47 per cent shareholding in Girona to under 30 per cent by putting shares into a “blind trust” which has to be operated independently.

The three directors who have had to step down, according to the report, are Simon Cliff, Manchester City’s legal chief, John MacBeath, a chartered accountant with background in the oil and gas industry, and Ingo Bank, a senior financial executive with CFG.

They have been replaced by three partners of the Cheltenham law firm, Wiggin Osborne Fullerlove – Matthew Shayle, Edward Hall and Paul Hunston – confirmed at a general meeting of Girona’s shareholders on Monday.

Girona and Manchester City will both be taking part in a new format of UEFA Champions League competition, which was finalised and formally announced to the football community earlier this year.

From the 2024/25 season, 36 clubs will participate in the Champions League league phase (formerly known as the group stage), giving four more sides the opportunity to compete against the best clubs in Europe.

It is now understood that those 36 clubs will participate in a single league competition in which all 36 competing clubs are ranked together. Under the new format, teams will play eight matches in the new league phase.

As such, teams will no longer play three opponents twice – home and away – but will instead face fixtures against eight different teams, playing half of those matches at home and half of them away.

To determine the eight different opponents, the teams will initially be ranked in four seeding pots. Each team will then be drawn to play two opponents from each of these pots, playing one match against a team from each pot at home, and one away.