UEFA have provided much needed clarification on what happens if West Ham draw Sparta Prague, due to Daniel Kretinsky owning part of both clubs.
With West Ham securing first place in their Europa League group, they have guaranteed themselves a place in the last 16 where they will face one of the winners from the play-off games. However, one potential opposition has caused concern amongst fans due to a potential conflict of interests.
Daniel Kretinsky is a major shareholder in both West Ham and Sparta Prague, this raised questions about what would happen if the two clubs were to face each other. UEFA has a multi-club ownership rule that is in place to ensure no match fixing will take place in any of their competitions, and alarm bells were ringing about if this will affect the Irons.
Thankfully, Hammers.News reached out to UEFA to shine some light on the situation. They stated that there were a number of clubs they discussed ahead of this season’s European competitions over potential issues in regards to multi-club ownership, the Hammers were not one of them.
“With regard to this matter, we kindly refer you to article 5 of the relevant competition regulations,” they told the news site. “We also refer you to the following decisions of the Club Financial Control Body as announced last Summer.”
“The CFCB First Chamber accepted the admission of Aston Villa FC (ENG) and Vitoria Sport Clube (POR); Brighton & Hove Albion FC (ENG) and Royal Union Saint-Gilloise (BEL); AC Milan (ITA) and Toulouse FC (FRA) to the UEFA club competitions for the 2023/24 season,” adding that they “have no further comment on specific cases.”
Essentially, what this means is our Irons are in the clear. The reason for this is that Kretinsky’s stake in both clubs leaves him with a minority ownership. He owns just 27% of the London club and 40% of Sparta. For there to be an issue with multi-club ownership, he would need to own a majority stake in both clubs and they would have to both qualify for the same competition.
Fans can rest assured that, for now, there is absolutely nothing to worry about. Given that he has shown no interest in acquiring the shares that the Gold family have put up for sale, it is safe to assume that becoming the majority owner of West Ham is not something he is considering anytime soon.