UEFA and FIFA find themselves at odds over the regulation of multi-club ownership, grappling with one of football’s most pressing issues today.

The European governing body is urging FIFA to devise regulations ahead of next year’s inaugural Club World Cup in the USA. This urgency is particularly pronounced given the potential participation of clubs from multiple ownership groups. Manchester City and Chelsea serve as prime examples, with the former belonging to the expansive City Football Group and the latter’s owners exploring expansion beyond their recent acquisition of Strasbourg.

Conversely, FIFA is pressing UEFA to clarify its own regulations, which have resulted in scenarios like Leipzig and Salzburg—both affiliated with the Red Bull group—encountering each other in the Europa League. Despite regulations ostensibly intended to prevent conflicts of interest by keeping such teams apart, both clubs demonstrated sufficient separation, casting doubt on the effectiveness of the rules. The complexity stems from two core issues: firstly, football’s regulatory framework treats clubs as distinct entities, and secondly, FIFA has never provided a comprehensive definition of what constitutes a club.

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