Football: United may be given Champions' League bye

MANCHESTER UNITED have learned that they may receive a bye into the Champions' League and not have to bother with next week's preliminary round.

The Premiership runners-up are due face the Polish side, LKS Lodz, next Wednesday in the first leg, with the winners over two legs qualifying for the highly lucrative Champions' League. However, Lodz may be removed from the competition today by Uefa, European football's ruling body.

The problem centres on a dispute between Uefa and the Polish government, which has suspended top Polish Football Association officials.

Uefa believes the decision has been made on political grounds and wants the officials to be reinstated before Polish football is allowed to compete in Uefa competitions. So far the Polish government has refused to lift the bans, claiming that the decisions were made because of internal corruption and not for political reasons.

The United manager, Alex Ferguson, preparing for Sunday's Charity Shield with Arsenal and - perhaps - the European tie, said yesterday: "Apparently it is all being decided tomorrow, so we will just have to wait and see. I don't know what will happen. You never know with football authorities." It is possible that United may be asked to play Kapaz Ganca, from Azerbaijan, who lost to Lodz in the qualifying round, but a bye is more likely.

If Uefa does get tough with the Poles, it could also expel the national side from the European Championship qualifiers - in which Poland are in the same group as England.

The Wolves striker Dougie Freedman is set to complete his delayed move to Nottingham Forest. The deal appeared to have broken down last week when the player announced he was staying despite the two clubs having agreed a pounds 900,000 fee, but yesterday he said he had agreed a four-year deal.

"The delay was only a contractual thing at Wolves," the former Crystal Palace striker said. He will replace Kevin Campbell, who is on his way to the Turkish club Trabzonspor, at the City Ground. Dave Bassett, the Forest manager, yesterday denied reports that another Turkish side, Fenerbahce, had made a pounds 7m bid for the unsettled Dutch striker, Pierre van Hooijdonk.

Blackburn Rovers have suffered another setback after losing their second centre-back in the space of two days. The England Under-21 defender Marlon Broomes - widely rated as Colin Hendry's replacement for the early weeks of the new Premiership season - will be out of action for at least a month.

Broomes injured ankle ligaments in a training accident and will be in plaster for the next three weeks. With the Norwegian defender Tore Pedersen also ruled out with a knee injury, the Rovers manager, Roy Hodgson, has admitted that he needs to move quickly on the transfer front, following Hendry's move to Rangers. "We only have two senior central defenders in Darren Peacock and Stephane Henchoz, and that clearly isn't enough," Hodgson said.

The Aston Villa striker Stan Collymore looks likely to be fit for the opening game of the Premiership season at Everton on 15 August.

The Villa manager, John Gregory, had ruled Collymore out of his plans for the next three weeks after the striker suffered a thigh strain in a pre-season friendly against Peterborough last Friday, but the former Liverpool man has been able to make a swift return to training.

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all