Football: European MPs join Coca-Cola debate

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The Independent Online
Members of the European Parliament are stepping up the pressure to overturn a Uefa decision banning the winners of the Coca-Cola Cup from competing in the Uefa Cup.

A European Parliament vote today is expected to demand legal action against European football's governing body unless there is a change of heart.

A resolution tabled by two British MEPs says the Uefa move is "an abuse of a dominant position" contrary to EU rules. Two Labour Euro-MPs, Glyn Ford and Tony Cunningham, hope pressure from the Strasbourg assembly will help ensure the Football League can regain its Uefa Cup place.

Ford said: "If the European Parliament votes in favour of my resolution the Commission will find it very difficult to continue to sit on its hands on this issue. They must rule that Uefa is acting against the spirit and letter of European law."

Uefa wants national leagues of 18 or fewer teams. "The decision to exclude Coca-Cola Cup winners from the Uefa Cup was taken to punish the Premier League for having a larger league," Ford added. "But it is clearly unfair to punish the Football League for something which is the responsibility of another organisation: the Football Association. I think it is against EU law."

Stefan Effenberg, Borussia Monchengladbach's German international midfielder, has dismissed reports linking him with a pounds 4m move to Tottenham.

West Ham have terminated their loan arrangement with the Portuguese striker Paulo Alves, who has returned to Sporting Lisbon.

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