Uefa are powerless in race for multi-club empires
The great clubs of Europe and many of those for whom greatness remains stubbornly out of reach - will meet this week to discuss their collective futures, although of all the issues concerning money and scheduling, there is one that will be impossible to unpick.
Multi-club ownership is at the top of the agenda again, forced into the spotlight by the future of Manchester United and those who seek to buy it. Yet multi-club ownership has grown so rapidly over recent years that it is now thought that around 200 clubs globally are part of a multi-club structure. Everything from the 12-strong worldwide empire of City Football Group; to those club owners with minority stakes elsewhere; or investors who have multiple interests.
The game has moved so swiftly that Uefa now finds itself contemplating a great network of interest over which it will exert even less power. Little wonder, then, that when its president Aleksander Ceferin was asked recently about the future of multi-club ownership, he was surprisingly sympathetic. The issue is not whether Uefa permits multi-club ownership, and teams from the same group competing in its competitions, because that moment has long since passed. It is now about how the governing body tries to make peace with it.