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Uefa want to scrap Champions League semi-final second legs

HANDS up everyone who watched this week’s Champions League thrillers and thought, “We must scrap these two-legged semi-finals.”

Because chances are you are Uefa president Aleksander Ceferin or Paris Saint-Germain chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi.


Football must not let Uefa scrap Champions League semi-final second legsCredit: Getty

Every supporter in the world would have been gripped by Villarreal’s brave but ultimately futile comeback attempts against Liverpool on Tuesday night.

And Real Madrid’s incredible 6-5 aggregate win against Manchester City will go down as one of the greatest games in Champions League history.

But Ceferin and Al-Khelaifi are not football fans.

They are marketing men who see every match as a financial opportunity.

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So at a meeting of the Uefa executive committee next week, the two most powerful men in European football will press ahead with their plans to reform the Champions League.

And one of the main tenets of their proposal will be to make the semi-finals a one-legged, straight knockout affair to ease the fixture congestion caused by ten first-round group games.

So less City v Real and more Shakhtar Donetsk v FC Sheriff. Thanks a bunch.

The big idea is to stage both semis and the final in the same city over one week in an event which Ceferin has compared to the Super Bowl.


He revealed: “Even if you lose two matches you can get more revenue to compensate.

“It could be a fantastic event for broadcasters and sponsors.”

Notice he doesn’t mention the supporters, who barely seem to figure in his grandiose schemes.

And it’s no surprise he is backed by Al-Khelaifi, the man who has run rings around Financial Fair Play rules for years yet is now calling the shots.

Ever since the collapse of the European Super League last year, the opportunist PSG president has been cashing in on his club’s refusal to join the break-away rebels.

So not only is he now a Uefa board member but also president of the European Clubs Association.

Yet his loyalty to Uefa was only ever down to the fact beIN Sports — of which he is also the chairman — owns the Champions League broadcast rights.


And he was never going to jeopardize that lucrative deal by signing up for a rival competition.

Two years after PSG’s one and only Champions League final, he still speaks fondly about the 2020 format, when the global pandemic led to both semis and the final being played in Lisbon over six days.

And the fact PSG have been the biggest bottle jobs in football has got absolutely nothing to do with his enthusiasm for getting rid of the second leg.

Because if we thought City were bad at getting over the line, they don’t compare to Le Chokers from Paris, who famously once beat Barcelona 4-0 yet still managed to lose the second leg 6-1.

So it’s no surprise that Al-Khelaifi doesn’t trust his players when the pressure is on and wants to manipulate things in their favour.

But the rest of Europe must resist these Super Bowl delusions.

The Champions League is doing just fine without Mickey Mouse moves for Disneyfication.

Everton reckon the officials have got it in for them


Everton reckon the officials have got it in for themCredit: Reuters


INFAMY, infamy, they’ve all got it in for me.

Everton are becoming increasingly paranoid as they face the prospect of Championship football at Goodison next season.

For the second time in weeks they have made an official complaint to referees chief Mike Riley over failed penalty appeals.

On the first occasion Riley actually apologized for VAR missing Rodri’s handball in the 1-0 home defeat by Manchester City.

But now boss Frank Lampard has been charged by the FA for his comments after the 2-0 loss at Anfield when he said: “If it’s Mo Salah at the other end, you get a penalty.”

To make matters worse, there is now a chance Richarlison might be banned for the relegation run-in after lobbing a flare back into the crowd after scoring Sunday’s winner against Chelsea.

So now they’re banking on the Merseyside Police getting involved and stringing their investigation out beyond the end of the season.

But the only way that Everton are going to get out of this month is by continuing to play as if it’s them against the world.

Because if they’re relying on help from anyone else, it’s going to end in former Toffees stalwart Mikel Arteta sending them down on the final day of the season at Arsenal.

Liverpool ace Andy Robertson is also focusing on helping Scotland to the World Cup


Liverpool ace Andy Robertson is also focusing on helping Scotland to the World CupCredit: Getty


ANDY ROBERTSON has already played 51 games for club and country this season and still has another six to go as Liverpool close in on the Quadruple.

But even the Champions League final against Real Madrid in three weeks’ time is not going to be his biggest game of the year.

Because four days after the Paris showdown, the unstoppable full-back will be a key man in Scotland’s World Cup play-off against Ukraine.

If they win that highly-emotional Hampden clash, it’s off to Cardiff four days later for a winner-takes-all meeting with Wales for the right to become England’s World Cup whipping boys.

And while Champions League finals are becoming ten a penny for Robertson these days, the chance to play at the World Cup is a once-in-a- lifetime opportunity when you’re Scottish.


AN email from Fifa landed in my inbox the other day to announce a new partnership with a technology company.

Apparently they will become the official blockchain platform of Fifa to provide the official blockchain-supported wallet solution.

It goes on to explain that blockchains allow non-editable data to be permanently recorded and distributed on digital networks — while also facilitating innovations and ensuring untampered exchange of value and assets such as non-fungible tokens.

I can only assume that whoever sent this information has mistaken me for someone who gives af*** about this sort of stuff.

Because I don’t have a clue what they are going on about and the day when I actually care about blockchain solutions is also the day hell freezes over.

Katie Taylor put on a boxing spectacle against Amanda Serrano


Katie Taylor put on a boxing spectacle against Amanda SerranoCredit: The Mega Agency


KATIE TAYLOR’S thrilling title defense against Amanda Serrano at Madison Square Garden is rightly being put up as the fight of the year.

But I think her coach Ross Enamait got slightly carried away when he claimed: “She’s built different. Balls of steel.”

Because if that was true, the WBC, IBF, WBA and WBO might all want to take a closer look at undisputed lightweight champion Taylor.

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TERRIBLE times for West Ham fans with the news that James Corden is returning to the UK so he can attend more games at the London Stadium.

Stay strong you Irons.

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