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FA to fight Liverpool's cause
May 27, 2005 15:06 IST
England's Football Association (FA) will continue to fight to get Champions League winners Liverpool a place in next season's competition, FA chief executive Brian Barwick said on Thursday.
Liverpool beat AC Milan on penalties to lift the European Cup for the fifth time on Wednesday but finished only fifth in the Premier League, so failing to qualify for Europe's top club competition.
UEFA said on Thursday it would not change the rules to allow Liverpool to defend the trophy but the FA hopes to get European soccer's ruling body to change its mind.
"We'll be keeping up a dialogue with UEFA which we have been for the last couple of months," Barwick told the FA website.
"We spotted this potential scenario a fair while ago and so have been in touch with them both verbally and in written form and we'll continue to talk.
"What UEFA have, and I sympathise with them, is a situation where they are faced with not having their own champions in their own competition which is called the Champions League. I think in its own way that tells its own story."
Barwick said the situation was exceptional.
"Liverpool finished outside the top four," he said. "I think The FA were right and proper to put the top four in to the Champions League.
"That's how teams kicked off in August, expecting a top-four finish to give them qualification or pre-qualification and that will not be changed," he said.
"We are more in a situation now of how do we, for good sporting reasons, find a way to persuade UEFA that they should find room for Liverpool.
"I think at the moment if you asked world football opinion they would be in.
"It's an exceptional situation, that follows an exceptional match and which we believe requires an exceptional solution."
UEFA spokesman William Gaillard said earlier on Thursday that the rules could not be changed.
"I fully sympathise with the club and I would love to have them in there -- but we have rules," Gaillard told BBC Radio Five.
"We can't change them in the middle of the season. The FA has said Everton are the fourth English club to qualify."
Champions Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United were the other three English clubs to qualify for next season's Champions League, the first two entering it automatically and United joining Everton in the third qualifying round.
No country has a quota of more than four participating clubs in the Champions League.