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Champions League last 16 draw declared void after Uefa gaffe

 

UEFA was forced to declare the Champions League draw void after a series of mistakes were made during the process on Monday morning.

Manchester United had been handed a mouth-watering last-16 tie against Paris St Germain, but only after being erroneously paired with Villarreal in the first instance and then mistakenly left off the list of possible opponents to face Atletico Madrid.

After clubs sought clarification from the European governing body on what had happened, UEFA announced the ties would be redrawn at 2pm on Monday.

“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 statement said.

“As a result of this, the draw has been declared void and will be entirely redone at 1500 CET.”

Confusion began when United were paired with Villarreal – a side they had already faced in Group F.

UEFA deputy general secretary Giorgio Marchetti apologised for the “technical issue our draw is experiencing” before asking former Arsenal forward Andrey Arshavin to try again, and this time it was neighbours Manchester City who were paired with the Yellow Submarine.

But the problems did not stop there.

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When Atletico Madrid were the next side to be drawn, Marchetti said: “For Atletico Madrid, the possibility are all [teams] except for Liverpool, who was in the same group, and Manchester United as they were already drawn.”

But as United’s drawing was a mistake, they should still have been potential opponents for Atletico. UEFA’s head of club competitions Michael Heselschwerdt began collecting balls to put in the pot, but compounded the error by appearing to take a ball from Liverpool’s pot rather than United’s.

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Atletico were ultimately paired with Bayern Munich, but given the series of errors, UEFA had no choice but to declare the draw void.

 

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