Toulouse may be banned from playing Europa League in case of cup win

Should Toulouse win the Coupe de France final against Nantes on Saturday, they may not be able to play in the Europa League next season, according to a report from L’Équipe today. The cup winner gets an automatic ticket to the Europa League group stage, whatever their league standings. Last year, ninth-placed Nantes played the Europa League because of their 2022 Coupe de France win.

However, it may not be that straightforward for Toulouse. The Garonne side is owned by RedBird Capital Partners, the American private investment firm who own a majority share in Champions League semi-finalists AC Milan.

UEFA rules and regulations are clear when it comes to multi-club ownership and European competitions: Two clubs owned by the same entity cannot be guaranteed an entry, even if they are not playing the same competition. If AC Milan qualify for next season’s Champions League, they may finish third in their group and potentially play Toulouse in the Europa League knock-out stage.

For the matter to be resolved, RedBird would need to withdraw from one of the clubs so that both can compete on the continental stage. In 2017, Red Bull had to make adjustments in order to field both RB Leipzig and RB Salzburg in the Champions League. If RedBird does not make similar changes, UEFA will choose Milan over Toulouse according to sporting criteria. 4th-placed Milan are indeed far better placed in Serie A than Toulouse are in Ligue 1 (12th).

GFFN | Bastien Cheval

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