West Ham United

West Ham United

Premier League • England

Big implications for West Ham European hopes as Kretinsky moves to complete full takeover

James Holland
Sparta Prague owner Daniel Kretinsky

West Ham could face major implications for their European hopes amid Daniel Kretinsky’s plans to complete a full takeover.

The Czech billionaire joined West Ham’s board of directors on November 10. He purchased a 27 per cent stake in the club for £150million. His investment will help to wipe the club’s debt. It could also see them go big on a number of players in January.

David Moyes’ side are flying high right now in both the Premier League and in Europe. They sit fourth in the Prem after 12 matches, having picked up 23 points.

They are also through to the last 16 of the Europa League after topping Group H with a 2-0 victory over Rapid Vienna.

West Ham look set to compete for European qualification again this season, having finished sixth in the table during 2020-21.

But Kretinsky’s ambition to engineer a full takeover of the Hammers could complicate things. The Evening Standard write that he has an option in place to buy the stakes of current shareholders David Sullivan and David Gold.

The price is already agreed, which means it will not change depending on West Ham’s success this term.

However, a full Kretinsky takeover could see the Irons pick up a European ban. Article five of UEFA’s constitution states that ‘no individual or legal entity may have control or influence over more than one club participating in a UEFA club competition’.

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If both clubs were to qualify for European competition under Kretinsky’s stewardship, only one of them would be able to actually compete. This is to maintain the ‘integrity’ of UEFA’s tournaments.

The governing body looks at the following criteria, in descending order, when deciding who should compete.

  1. The club which qualifies on sporting merit for the most prestigious UEFA club competition (i.e., in descending order: UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League or UEFA Europa Conference League);
  2. The club which was ranked highest in the domestic championship giving access to the relevant UEFA club competition;
  3. Club whose association is ranked highest in the access list.

Sparta Prague are the more likely of the two sides to top their division or qualify for the UCL. This could see West Ham penalised as a result.

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Kretinsky explains how West Ham will build

Writing for the Evening Standard recently, Kretinsky explained how he wanted the Irons to continue to build.

“I’m hugely impressed by the work of David Moyes and his team. [They] have improved results over a long period of time,” he wrote.

“This gradual evolution is, in my opinion, the most healthy way to build a strong club. I speak from experience. We tried to rush the development of Sparta Prague a couple of years ago and the results were disappointing.

“Improving the quality of the squad is great, of course. But we prefer a gradual way that preserves and protects the ethos of the club and its values, including team spirit.”

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