Too late for Liverpool - UEFA chief

A UEFA executive committee member believes it is too late to change the rules to accommodate holders Liverpool into next season’s Champions League.

A UEFA executive committee member believes it is too late to change the rules to accommodate holders Liverpool into next season’s Champions League.

Pressure has increased on UEFA in the past week to include the Reds in next season’s competition following their stunning penalty shoot-out triumph over AC Milan.

The elite European clubs group, the G14, have added their voice to the clamour while Football Association chairman Geoff Thompson, who is also a UEFA vice-president, has continued lobbying for there to be five English clubs in the Champions League so the Reds can defend their crown.

Liverpool will have to wait for another three weeks before the issue is resolved by UEFA’s 15-man executive committee at their meeting in Manchester on June 17.

UEFA president Lennart Johansson is understood to be broadly supportive, and his influence is extremely important though not necessarily decisive.

However, Dr Joseph Mifsud, who has been on the committee since 1994, is a dissenting voice and is unequivocal in his belief the current regulations should be adhered to, which would result in the exclusion of the newly-crowned champions.

Mifsud, who is also the president of the Malta FA, told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I believe we should follow the rules.

“If the rules permit it it is ok, if the rules do not permit it, no.

“I believe that while the English FA can do something in this regard, I believe as the rules stand at present at UEFA we cannot do anything – unless of course the regulations are changed.

“But I don’t agree regulations can be changed midway through the season.

“As far as I can see it is too late.”

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