April 20, 2006

Spurs to Launch Legal Challenge.: If Arsenal win the Champions League and Spurs clinch fourth spot, they may take UEFA to court on grounds of discrimination. Only the fourth placed teams from England, Italy or Spain are liable to lose their place if the winners do not qualify through league position, putting Osasuna in a similar position if Villareal win.

posted by walrus to soccer at 06:47 AM - 20 comments

I don't get it. On what grounds? The criteria for entry is spelled out in black and white. England get four spots. Tottenham would be fifth in line if Arsenal were to win the Champions League. France only gets three spots. Should the fourth team in France sue as well?

posted by salmacis at 08:09 AM on April 20, 2006

Well, they say it is discriminatory because if a club outside the qualification spots in, for example, France won the competition then they would get an extra spot, meaning four teams from France would go through. If an English Spanish or Italian club from outside the top four wins, however, then those countries would still only get four spots. If this happened, the reserved spot for the Champions League winners would go to a club from Leichtenstein or Andorra instead.

posted by walrus at 08:16 AM on April 20, 2006

I can see Tottenham's point, but they need to bear in mind that the Champions League would be nothing without the Andorrans (although, my sarcasm aside, at least that team would actually be the champion of something).

posted by JJ at 09:46 AM on April 20, 2006

Is this all part of the same rule that allowed Liverpool to defend the European Cup even though they finished fifth in the league last season? I suppose these things can't be black and white but it can be confusing for supporters. There always seems to be wiggle room for favoritism.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 10:04 AM on April 20, 2006

Tex, this is the rule change that resulted form Liverpool's predicament. Before this season there was no rule dealing with the scenario and LFC only played in Champions League this season through an extraordinary vote of the UEFA board. Though since as a supporter I was veyr happy to see the execption granted it would now be hypocritical of me not to support the embodiment of the exception in the rulebook. So Tottenham can go plotz ;)

posted by billsaysthis at 10:17 AM on April 20, 2006

Actually, it was only when England were granted a fourth spot through Liverpool winning the UEFA Cup that the issue arose. UEFA has always washed it's hands by leaving the decision up to it's member leagues. The precedent was set in Spain when Valadolid(?) were dropped into the UEFA Cup when Real Madrid won the Champions League whilst finishing fifth in La Liga. And it has to be said that the Champions have ALWAYS been allowed into the competition to defend their title, going right back to the second ever European Cup. For me the FA and the Premier League dropped the ball when they decided to take on UEFA to try to win a fifth English place by denying Liverpool entry, knowing that UEFA would have to back down. They've established the precedent once now, and with Spurs and Arsenals situation they can see the chance to do it again. They desperately want a fifth spot for English teams because of the money it brings in, and it's no surprise they're complicit in these latest shenanigans from Spurs.

posted by walrus at 10:39 AM on April 20, 2006

Don't you think Tottenham may be getting a bit ahead of itself here. It's by no means assured 4th position with the north London derby at Highbury this weekend likely to go a long way to deciding that particular issue.

posted by trox at 10:47 AM on April 20, 2006

The timing of the announcement reeks of mind games.

posted by JJ at 10:55 AM on April 20, 2006

"The timing of the announcement reeks of mind games." Not so sure, because Arsenal wouldn't be bothered either way, and this is coming out of the Spurs camp. Let's put it this way, whilst both teams are still in the race for CL football then I don't think this will go away. "Don't you think Tottenham may be getting a bit ahead of itself here. It's by no means assured 4th position with the north London derby at Highbury this weekend likely to go a long way to deciding that particular issue." Well yes, I think so. One of the things I was proud of my club over last season was that we didn't react to any of the speculation surrounding us when it became clear that there was a possible conflict, we just got on with our football. Now, fair enough, this isn't an official position of the club, but it smells like a deliberate leak to me. The fact the premier league are already purported to be involved would strengthen that probability.

posted by walrus at 11:08 AM on April 20, 2006

Sorry if I misremembered the details from last summer but I could swear that they made the rule change formal after allowing the Reds in. Also, even though Gunners are likely to take care of Villareal, I seriously doubt they can beat either Milan or Barcelona in a Final.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:30 PM on April 20, 2006

bill: I mean after winning the UEFA Cup in 2001, you didn't get it wrong, I was just adding some historical data. Perhaps wasn't very clear, re-reading it. On a purely footballing basis, I think it will be a travesty if Barca don't win the Cup. They're playing the best football on the planet in my book.

posted by walrus at 03:15 AM on April 21, 2006

On a purely footballing basis, I think it will be a travesty if Barca don't win the Cup. While I agree, a lot of people were saying the exact same thing about a certain Italian side this time last year.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 08:23 AM on April 21, 2006

Aye well we wanted it more. Over 40,000 scousers bellowed our way to victory. I was there and I couldn't raise my voice above a whisper for two weeks afterwards. I've spoken to Milan fans who were there, and they say we scared the crap out of them. As Cruyff said of it: "There's not one club in the world so united with the fans. I sat there watching the Liverpool fans and they sent shivers down my spine. A mass of 40,000 people became one force behind their team. That's something not many teams have. For that I admire Liverpool more than anything." We also got plaudits for the twelth man from Juventus and Chelsea who were blown off the field by our support in previous rounds. Hence why I said "on a purely footballing basis". It's not only about skill on the field. Sometimes grit, determination, heart and support count for more. If there's any justice Milan will win, because we robbed them last year, no doubt. But Barca play better football.

posted by walrus at 10:13 AM on April 21, 2006

we robbed them last year Maybe we robbed them, your honour, but they shouldn't have gone out and left all the doors and windows wide open.

posted by JJ at 10:17 AM on April 21, 2006

I think we busted the door in with a bullet header from our captain. When that went in, the roof came off as well. We'd shown them we could make a noise at half time. I've been following Liverpool for nearly thirty years and I have NEVER heard a rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone like that before, and I never will again. I thought the last day of the standing Kop couldn't be topped, but there were grown men of sixty years old in the Ataturk with the tears streaming down their faces, spitting that out in defiance. The three Milan fans in our "neutral" section were all crouched down with their fingers in their ears. But if they thought that was loud they'd heard nothing yet. When Alonso put that rebound in, we ended up three rows of seats down and about five seats to the right, the place was bouncing so much. And during the pennos it was the loudest noise I have ever heard in my life. There will never, ever be a football match like that again, if the game is played for a billion years. My grandchildren will be telling their grandchildren about it.

posted by walrus at 10:20 AM on April 21, 2006

I have to agree with Cruyff. I actually watched the final from a hotel room in Dallas last year and the Liverpool support was absolutely awesome...you could feel it through the TV. Of all the supporters I've heard through the box or in the stands, only Celtic come close. Funny both teams sing the same song.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 10:23 AM on April 21, 2006

"Funny both teams sing the same song." Aye well that's the one instance where someone's robbed something off a scouser ;-)

posted by walrus at 10:26 AM on April 21, 2006

This thread has inspired me to update my profile. It was past time. Only problem is now I'm stuck in work for a few more hours and I want to get built up for tomorrow's FA Cup Semi Final! It's a funny old game, as Greavesie used to say.

posted by walrus at 10:50 AM on April 21, 2006

By the way, here's a treat for you all (and then I'll stop posting like a lunatic): Video footage of the last day of the standing Kop

posted by walrus at 11:04 AM on April 21, 2006

Who'll have more people in the stands tomorrow? Will the scousers be able to blow the Blues down? Sure would be sweet to send Mourinho and his boys home without this piece of silverware.

posted by billsaysthis at 05:05 PM on April 21, 2006

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