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UEFA gives Leipzig green light to enter Champions League

UEFA has cleared RB Leipzig to take part in next season's Champions League. This had been in doubt due to rules preventing two clubs under the same ownership or management from playing in the same competition.

UEFA, European football's governing body, announced on Tuesday that it had given the Bundesliga runners-up the green light to enter the Champions League, despite the presence of Red Bull Salzburg, who won the Austrian Bundesliga.

RB Leipzig had been in danger of losing their place in next season's group stage due to Article 5 of UEFA's integrity rules, which bars two clubs under the same ownership from playing in the same tournament.

However, a statement posted on UEFA's website on Tuesday said the adjudicatory chamber of its Financial Control Body (CFCB) had been convinced by officials representing both clubs that they had sufficiently disentangled their operations to comply with Article 5.

'Governance and structural changes'

"Following a thorough investigation, and further to several important governance and structural changes made by the clubs (regarding corporate matters, financing, personnel, sponsorship arrangements, etc.), the CFCB deemed that no individual or legal entity had anymore a decisive influence over more than one club participating in a UEFA club competition," the statement said.

It also noted that this decision could be appealed to the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport within the next 10 days. It said the CFCB would "continue to monitor both clubs to ensure that integrity rules are respected going forward."

''Open and transparent exchange'

RB Leipzig's managing director, Oliver Mintzlaff, expressed delight at the decision, saying it was the "result of an at all times open and transparent exchange with UEFA."

Had UEFA determined that the ties between the two clubs were still close enough to prevent one from entering the Champions League, Salzburg would have been given priority over Leipzig as it finished higher in its domestic league last season.

Red Bull Salzburg are to begin their Champions League campaign in the second qualifying round next month, when they are to face either Hibernians of Malta or FCI Tallinn of Estonia.

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