UEFA Admitted Leipzig, Salzburg To CL After Failing To Prove Red Bull Influence
UEFA revealed it allowed Bundesliga side RB Leipzig and Austrian Bundesliga side Red Bull Salzburg into this season's Champions League because its chief investigator could not firmly establish that Red Bull had "decisive influence" over both clubs, according to Stephan Uersfeld of ESPN.com. Integrity rules prevent multiple teams from the same ownership from playing in the Champions League but, "despite an early warning" by UEFA's Club Financial Control Body chief investigator, both clubs were admitted in mid-June after "several changes were made." RB Leipzig, founded by Red Bull in '09, and Red Bull Salzburg, renamed from SV Austria Salzburg in '05, have received "substantial financial backing from the Austrian soft drink company in the past." In addition, Leipzig Sporting Dir Ralf Rangnick and CEO Oliver Mintzlaff "previously had responsibilities with the Austrian club, while there have been numerous transfers between the two." UEFA said that Salzburg removed "certain individuals" linked to Red Bull and simultaneously involved with Leipzig from Salzburg's general assembly, while another person linked to the soft drink company resigned from his position as chair of the board. The club also terminated "certain loan agreements" with Red Bull (ESPN.com, 7/17).