KEIR RADNEDGE in Budapest: Michel Platini has said that European federation UEFA may review the controversial rule which saw Tottenham relegated in next season’s Champions League by holders Chelsea.
UEFA, of which Platini is president, amended its regulations in 2005 so that Liverpool – who had not qualified through domestic position – could defend the Champions League won amid such drama against Milan in Istanbul.
However the regulation upset left Tottenham at the mercy of Chelsea’s victory over Bayern Munich last Saturday; the fall-out also angered Belgian champions Anderlecht who dropped from the group stage into the third qualifying round.
The issue was raised with Platini after a meeting of European football association delegates here in Budapest on the eve of FIFA Congress.
Platini said, under normal circumstances, no rule change were envisaged for at least three years but that might be reviewed.
He added: “We can always change the rules. We can always discuss the rules, but not during the competition. We have decided not to change the rules or regulations of the competition for three years. Perhaps in the next executive committee we can speak about it. I can put that, but they may say No.”
A similar resistance by Platini to consider change had been evident over the issue of player suspensions for the Champions League Final. Players from Bayern Munich and Chelsea missed the match after having colleted two yellow cards in the entire knock-out stage.
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has suggested that UEFA should allow five clubs from one of its top-represented countries into the Champions League in Chelsea’s particular circumstances.
UEFA’s current rule was introduced in 2005 when five English teams were allowed in to the Champions League after Liverpool won the tournament but finished fifth in the Premier League. Platini said that he personally believed there should be a maximum of four per country.
He added: “I think so, but it is the matter of the executive committee, a matter for discussion. If you put more in one part you have to take out more from another part and because we always play with 32 teams, with the winner is 31, so we have to decide.
“Perhaps it could be for discussion in the future about the participation of more than four but for the moment it is not possible because the regulations are for four.”
He rejected suggestions that Spurs were being unfairly punished, saying: “They knew the rules, they should have been third and not fourth.”
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