The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) was forced to redraw the Champions League due to glaring mistakes made in creating pairs for the 1/8 finals of the tournament. The Spanish Villarreal and Atletico protested against the result, whereas Real Madrid opposed the idea of a repeat draw.If you’re interested in sports betting, we would like to offer to have a look at football betting presented on our website
Andrey Arshavin, who acted as a representative of Russia, where the Champions League final will be held this season, was at the centre of the ceremony. The former Zenit St. Petersburg player, whose stadium will host the tournament’s final match, pulled out balls with the names of clubs. However, the draw was marred by several blunders at once.
Arshavin pulled the English Manchester United as a pair to the Spanish Villarreal. The confrontation between these clubs was superheated even in the final of the Europa League – 2021, but now, according to the regulations, the teams cannot be rivals in the 1/8 finals of the Champions League, since they played in the same group stage of the tournament.
The mistake was noticed, and the opponent of the Spanish team changed: Arshavin pulled out another club from Manchester – Manchester City.
But the issues with the draw did not end there. Head of Club Competitions of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA), Michael Heselschwerdt, pulled out Atletico. It was announced that the rival of the Spanish club could be either one of the remaining teams except for Liverpool, with whom they met at the group stage, and Manchester United since they already had a rival. But the problem was that the English club did not have an opponent because minutes earlier City was paired with Villarreal instead of the United. Arshavin pulled Bayern Munich from the pot in which there was no Manchester United.
After that, the draw continued smoothly, and the following pairs were made: Benfica (Portugal) – Real Madrid (Spain), Villarreal (Spain) – Manchester City (England), Atletico (Spain) – Bayern Munich (Germany), Salzburg (Austria) – Liverpool (England), Inter (Italy) – Ajax (Netherlands), Sporting (Portugal) – Juventus (Italy), Chelsea (England) – Lille (France), PSG (France) – Manchester United (England).
Yet, while the fans of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo rejoiced that the players would play against each other again; and the Europa League draw was in progress, putting Spanish Betis against the Russian Zenit, Atletico and Villarreal appealed to UEFA to redraw the Champions League due to appalling technical errors. It is worth noting that the teams’ opponents were the strongest clubs – Bayern and Manchester City, so the redraw could have been more favourable for the Spanish teams.
Four huge mistakes were made in the draw: Manchester United ended up in the pot with the rivals of Villarreal; Manchester United was not in the pot with rivals of Atletico; Liverpool was in the pot with rivals of Atletico; Liverpool was not in the pot with rivals of Villarreal.
The claim was approved, and UEFA announced that the Champions League draw would be held anew. The organization explained this with technical problems.
As UEFA said in their twitter account: “Following a technical problem with the software of an external service provider that instructs the officials as to which teams are eligible to play each other, a material error occurred in the draw for the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.”
A famous portal Goal.com reacted to UEFA’s decision to hold a second draw with irony and felt sorry for Andrei Arshavin, who was partly framed by technical problems, tweeting “This #UCLdraw (sad/tired face emoji)
Poor Andrey Arshavin. ”
At 17.00 Moscow time, the Champions League draw was held again. There were no technical problems this time, and the following pairs formed: Salzburg (Austria) – Bayern Munich (Germany), Sporting (Portugal) – Manchester City (England), Benfica (Portugal) – Ajax (Netherlands), Chelsea (England) – Lille (France), Atletico (Spain) – Manchester United (England), Villarreal (Spain) – Juventus (Italy), Inter ” (Italy) – Liverpool (England), PSG (France) – Real Madrid (Spain).
What is probably the most upsetting for football fans in this situation is the fact that PSG will not play against Manchester United, and that Messi and Ronaldo will not face each other on the field. However, PSG will take part in an equally exciting confrontation, considering that Real Madrid gained momentum and is now at the top of the Spanish championship standing, with a significant gap in the points with the second-placed Sevilla (8 points, but Sevilla still has a match in reserve). Interestingly, the Madrid club, initially paired with Benfica, is against a redraw.
According to La Sexta journalist Jose Luis Sanchez in El Chiringuito de Jugones, Real Madrid claims that a complete redo of the draw is unacceptable. The club believes that this will be as blatant a falsification as those mistakes made in the first case.
Josep Pedrerol, correspondent of El Chiringuito de Jugones, said Real Madrid insists that their pairing with Benfica is fine because the mistakes started appearing later. The club is confident that their pair should not participate in the redraw.