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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Teaching Assistant

£40 - £50 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a TA/LSA looking for...

SEN Teacher

SEN QTS ASD MLD PLMD SLD: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply special education...

DT Teacher - Textiles

£100 - £135 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We urgently require a DT t...

Year 1 Teacher for long term roles starting in September

£110 - £130 per day + Competitive rates of pay: Randstad Education Reading: Ye...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week