European Cup place for finishing second

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The Independent Online
England have been told they can enter two clubs in the European Cup from the 1997-98 season after Uefa decided to go ahead with controversial plans to expand their flagship competition.

The deal for eight of Europe's leading football nations means that this season's Premiership runners-up could have consolation in the Champions' League.

They will have to take part in a pre-qualifying match next August for the right to take their place in the lucrative round-robin competition, which will be extended from 16 to 24 clubs.

The move has angered purists who believe the Champions' League should remain the exclusive preserve of exactly that: champions.

But the Football Association, represented by the chairman, Keith Wiseman, the chief executive, Graham Kelly, and accompanied by Rick Parry, the Premiership chief, at the meeting of European Football's governing body in Zurich, support the change.

"The proposal has the full backing of the FA and the FA Premier League and they were all pleased with the outcome of the day's talks," said an FA spokesman.

As part of the Uefa shake-up, winners of all domestic leagues will once again be invited to enter the European Cup, which is good news for the likes of the League of Wales, whose champions have recently had to settle for a Uefa Cup berth.

Glenn Hoddle, the England coach, has expressed delight at Ray Clemence's decision to accept the role of specialist goalkeeping coach to the national team.

Hoddle said: "I'm delighted to have somebody of his coaching and management experience to join my set-up - it's a major coup.

"Ray is somebody who I have both played with and known for many years. He's done so much in football and I'm delighted he will be joining us on a full-time basis."

The 48-year-old former Liverpool and Tottenham goalkeeper, who has quit as manager of Barnet, succeeds Mike Kelly in the England role.

However, like Under-21 boss Peter Taylor, Clemence has taken the job on a full-time basis and will have wider duties in the new regime.

With John Gorman as his assistant, the new England boss now has the nucleus of his staff for the opening World Cup qualifier in Moldova on 1 September - he will name his squad in six days' time after just two rounds of Premiership matches.

Terry Venables' right-hand man, Bryan Robson, has stepped down, while the veteran coach Don Howe remains with the FA as technical co-ordinator but is no longer expected to play a part on the England scene.

Clemence, the first goalkeeper to captain his country (against Brazil in 1981), would have probably had a century of caps had it not been for the presence of his great rival Peter Shilton, who won the bulk of his 125 caps in Clemence's time.

As a club player, he swept the board of honours with the great Liverpool sides of the 1970s before moving to Tottenham in 1982.