ZURICH, June 20 (Reuters) - Bundesliga runners-up RB Leipzig and Austrian champions Salzburg can both play in the Champions League next season after UEFA said it was satisfied that energy drinks manufacturer Red Bull does not have a controlling influence in both clubs.
The club financial control board of European soccer’s governing body said in a statement on Tuesday that “no individual or legal entity” had a decisive influence over more than one of the two clubs.
UEFA rules do not allow any two clubs competing in European competition to share the same owner. In cases where that happens, priority is given to a team who are champions of their country -- meaning that Leipzig would have missed out.
Red Bull bought Austria Salzburg in 2005, renaming it Red Bull Salzburg, and then SSV Markranstaedt in 2009, giving it the name RB Leipzig.
It has argued that, following a restructuring, it no longer has a controlling stake in Salzburg and merely sponsors the club.
Salzburg will enter the Champions League in the second qualifying round after winning the Austrian league last season.
Leipzig will go straight into the group stage after finishing second in the German Bundesliga in their first season in top-flight football.
UEFA said it had conducted a “thorough investigation” and that there had been “several important governance and structural changes made by the clubs”.
It said it would “continue to monitor both clubs to ensure that integrity rules are respected going forward”. (Reporting by Brian Homewood; Editing by Toby Davis)