Ban threat recedes

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The Independent Online
The spectre of renewed European exile receded last night after Uefa appeared to ease its position on the Intertoto Cup.

English clubs had feared being banned from the premier European cups after Uefa had reacted angrily to a threatened snubbing of the competition.

The ban would have taken effect for the season after next, 1996/97. But yesterday European football's governing body said they were only likely to fine England if they did not fill the three places they had requested for the tournament which is due to be played this summer.

Uefa said yesterday that they were not in a position to ban English clubs but it is understood the possibility of doing so was discussed by them in Vienna on Wednesday. Sir Bert Millichip, the chairman of the FA, was present and appears to have either misunderstood - or been misled - by the reference.

The fine is likely to be pounds 150,000 - chickenfeed for the wealthy Premiership (the FA would be fined but are expected to bill the clubs). The point, however, has been made and English clubs are likely to think carefully before dismissing Uefa so airily again.

The Premiership are still seeking entrants but, with German clubs also likely to pull out - Italian and Spanish clubs refused to enter - it appears the competition will remain a fringe one.

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