Bundesliga side RB Leipzig look set to be a part of next season’s Champions League, after fears they could’ve been banned by UEFA.
RB Leipzig and Austrian Bundesliga side Red Bull Salzburg, who secured the title last week, are both owned by soft drink company Red Bull.
And according to UEFA rules, clubs with strong links to one another are prohibited from playing in the same competition during the same season.
However, after an investigation by UEFA, both clubs were assured of their participation in next season’s competition.
Leipzig feared they would miss out, with sister-club Salzburg set to get the nod ahead of them as the Austrian giants finished as champions in their respective league.
Leipzig will begin their European adventure in the group stages next season, while Salzburg will meet either Hibernian or Tallinn in the second qualifying round.
In a statement, UEFA said: “The Adjudicatory Chamber of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body has decided to accept the admission of both FC Salzburg and RB Leipzig to the UEFA Champions League 2017/18, having found that Article 5 (Integrity of the competition) of the competition regulations is not breached.
“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.”
This will be a massive relief for the East German club, who are hugely unpopular within Germany with their establishment causing much controversy.
Much of the disdain comes from the tradition of fan culture in Germany, and their strong views on commercialisation of football.
The latest ruling is a blow to Liverpool, who who were keen on using the European ban to lure long term targets Timo Werner and Naby Keita to Anfield.