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Please Uefa Can We Have Some More?


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Bad news boys, the latest UEFA press release:

 

March 10, 2006

 

Liverpool In Champions League Quarter Final - Confirmed

 

Liverpool FC will continue defending their Champions League title in the quarter final round of this year's competition on 28th or 29th March 2006. UEFA, european soccer's governing body confirmed Thursday that they had changed existing rules to allow the English Premier League side to stay in the competition.

 

In future, title holders will be automaticaly entered at the quarter final stage.

Despite beating AC Milan in the Champions League Final last May, Liverpool failed to qualify for this year's competition after finshing 5th in the 2004-2005 Premier League rankings, and failed to qualify for this year's quarter final stage after being defeated 3-0 by Portuguese side Benfica in the last sixteen, over two legs.

 

But UEFA have decreed that Liverpool will get the smallest share of England's televison revenue if they reach the semi-final stage and will not have the benefit of country protection - meaning they could be drawn against Arsenal in the next round.

 

It is expected that former Liverpool coach Gerard Houllier's current team Lyon will be the team to miss out, even after inflicting a 5-0 aggregate scoreline on PSV Eindhoven in the last sixteen. Uefa chief executive Lars-Christer Olsson told BBC Radio Five Live the decision by the 14-man executive committee was unanimous. "Unanimous means that everybody is supporting it. By definition, that is also the case here. The Uefa executive committee decided to amend the regulations for the future editions of the Champions League, so that the holders will have the right to defend their title and therefore qualify automatically for the quarter finals" said a statement on the organisation's website.

 

Reacting to the news, Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann told BBC Radio Five Live: "It's tremendous news, great for the club. We've still got two weeks to prepare, "

 

And Football Association chief executive Brian Barwick added: "We thank the Uefa executive committee and especially its president Lennart Johansson for listening to the strength of the argument for Liverpool's entry to the quarter final stage. We always said that this was an exceptional situation which required an exceptional solution. We believed there were very strong sporting reasons for Liverpool to defend their title, not least after that fantastic final in Istanbul. That view has prevailed, and rightly so."

 

But some Liverpool supporters are unhappy with the decision.

 

Les Lawson, spokesman for the Liverpool International Supporters' Club, said: "Uefa has been caught with egg on their faces over this because no one expected Liverpool to lose to Benfica.

 

"It means Uefa has had to sort it out and they have done the minimum possible. They have treated their own champions with contempt.

 

"It is a disgrace. Liverpool are the top team in Europe because they are the holders and have beaten Europe's best."

 

Uefa president Lennart Johansson has defended his organisation's decision to change its rules to allow Liverpool a Champions League Quarter Finals place. On Thursday Uefa's executive committee handed Liverpool a place in quarter Finals. Johansson told BBC Radio Five Live: "We are like most people, we make mistakes. When we formulated the regulations we didn't think of the possibility of a side as great as Liverpool would lose to a lowly Portuguese side who had already defeated Manchester United in the group stages."

 

Now after Uefa's executive committee changed its rules on Thursday - in future the holders will gain automatic entry to the Quarter Finals - Liverpool will have the opportunity to continue to defend their title. Johansson also insisted Uefa had not been embarrassed by its u-turn.

 

He said: "No, not at all. We have tried to correct it for the future and took a decision which may be criticised but has been welcomed in most quarters. If you make an error you try not to repeat it in the future - you try to correct it and take a decision which will be accepted by the absolute majority."

 

"We thought in a situation like this we should not make too many changes. We had to find a possibility to let them in without hurting somebody else, and in fairness, Houllier is in charge of Lyon, and he did nothing with Liverpool anyway."

 

Yeah right! Wouldnt put it past them tho'!!!

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