Monday, June 4, 2007

UEFA Drops the Ball!

It has been a tough couple of weeks for Reds fans. First there was the whole Athens debacle. Then we are presented with these hideous new away kits for the upcoming campaign:

This is a joke, right?

And now UEFA is publishing a report calling Liverpool fans the worst in all of Europe. Claiming that there have been more "incidents" involving Liverpool supporters than any other club in Europe over the past four years.

Various officials around the club and the city of Liverpool have been quick to fire back at UEFA for their report. And deservedly so. After all, these are the same fans who have been repeatedly praised by UEFA officers in recent years and are widely considered among the best if not the best in all of Europe. It is plain for all to see that this is a deplorable attempt by UEFA to deflect blame from themselves in the wake of problems at the Champions League Final in Athens. Problems that were accurately predicted in a report Liverpool delivered to UEFA a week in advance of the match after they had examined the setup for the Final.

The fact that UEFA is trying to blame fans for the fact that supporters with legitimate tickets in Athens were not allowed into the stadium is a joke. The situation was handled horribly by UEFA and now they are trying to avoid their share of the blame at the expense of the Liverpool faithful.

LFC Chief executive Rick Parry has summed it up best;

"To have a stadium with no counting system and no turnstiles is unforgivable for any standard of game, let alone a major final.

"We produced a report to UEFA a week beforehand predicting, sadly, all the things that did go wrong. We told UEFA our intelligence suggested there were 5,000 forged tickets in existence.

"They knew and we knew that thousands of fans would travel without tickets and we stressed the need for a proper check at the outer cordon."

As a Liverpool fan I am glad to see the club and the city fighting back against this report. I know that the club will not stand for these accusations and neither will the fans. It's time for UEFA to stand up and admit they were at fault in Athens. An apology wouldn't kill them either.

Steven Gerrard is now also on record, calling out UEFA for poor execution of the Champions League Final. Captain Stevie says that everything from the stadium to the accommodations for the players themselves were of poor quality.

More reaction:
UEFA President Michel Platini has gone on record as saying that Liverpool's supporters should not bear the blame for the troubles in Athens. He is also one of the first people to point out that Liverpool fans greatly outnumbered Milan fans in Athens. The law of averages tells you there was a greater likelihood of incidents involving Liverpool fans because of this fact. Platini also failed to produce the now infamous report of 25 incidents involving Liverpool supporters over the last 4 years. So now we're stuck with conflicting messages coming from UEFA. Who are we supposed to believe?

Finally a ray of sunshine for the LFC faithful, the club's official website is reporting that Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher have signed new deals to remain with the club through 2011. Hopefully this is just the first show to drop in a very fruitful transfer season.

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