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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Executive

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading and innovative con...

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue