Tagged in: UEFA

Champions League draw repeated after UEFA’s Man United error

UEFA suffered embarrassment on Monday when the Champions League round-of-16 draw had to be repeated after the initial draw was rendered invalid due to a clerical error where Manchester United were mistakenly omitted as potential adversaries for Atletico Madrid.

During Monday’s initial draw, United were eventually paired with Paris Saint-Germain, having earlier been placed as opponents for Villarreal, whom they could not have met, having been in the same group as Unai Emery’s side.

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“Following a technical problem with the software of an external service provider that instructs the officials as to which teams are eligible to play each other, a material error occurred in the draw for the UEFA Champions League round of 16. As a result of this, the draw has been declared void and will be entirely redone at 3 p.m. CET (9 a.m. ET/ 2 p.m. GMT),” a UEFA spokesperson stated.

Atletico were the next team drawn and, while United should have been one of their potential adversaries, they were omitted as a computer glitch appeared to indicate they had already been drawn when they had not.

“We are speaking to UEFA to check for an explanation and resolution after the errors committed during the Champions League round-of-16 draw,” an Atletico statement read.

The draw was repeated later on Monday and the standout ties contained Atletico Madrid v Manchester United and PSG v Real Madrid.

The first legs will be played across February 15/16 and 22/23, while the second legs will be played across March 8/9 and 15/16.

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UEFA sets leagues May deadline for restart plans

Uefa has set European football leagues a May 25 deadline to inform the governing body whether they plan to restart their domestic campaigns.

Almost all leagues across Europe ground to a halt last month as countries attempted to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

While outliers like the Belarus league continue despite the outbreak of Covid-19, major leagues in England, France, Italy and Spain are yet to resume, though some clubs are letting their players to use their training facilities under strict health guidelines.

The only league to pencil in a return date so far has been Germany, which hopes to resume matches in its top two divisions beginning May 9 as the country eases social distancing restrictions.

Uefa is keen to start planning for next season’s European club tournaments. In a letter to 55 member associations, Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin wrote that any league cancelling its season would need to produce a list of teams that have qualified for European club competitions, also by May 25.

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“National Associations and/or Leagues should be in a position to communicate to Uefa by 25 May 2020 the planned restart of their domestic competitions including the date of restart and the relevant competition format,” Ceferin wrote.

“In the event that a domestic competition is to be prematurely terminated for legitimate reasons … Uefa would require the National Association to explain by 25 May 2020 the special circumstances justifying such premature termination and to select clubs for the Uefa club competitions 2020/21 on the basis of sporting merit in the 2019/20 domestic competitions,” he added.

Like all major sports, football has been brought to a virtual standstill by the pandemic, with even major tournaments, such as Uefa’s Euro 2020, postponed for one year, and continental club competitions put on hold.

While Uefa wants its member associations to complete their seasons, several, including Belgium and the Netherlands, have cancelled their seasons or declared them null and void, meaning no titles awarded and no relegations or promotions – a decision strongly criticised by some of the affected clubs.

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