Prince William to address Uefa ahead of Champions League final

The Duke of Cambridge will open the Uefa congress

Prince William will address UEFA's Congress in London today in his role as president of the Football Association.

The Duke of Cambridge will officially open the Congress after a meeting with UEFA president Michel Platini and FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

It is the first meeting between Blatter and the prince since William felt he was misled by FIFA members over their voting intentions during England's failed bid for the 2018 World Cup.

One source of potential embarrassment has been averted, however, after UEFA said it had no issues with the FA's new minimum five-match ban for racism on the pitch despite announcing its own 10-game sanction.

UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino said: "An association should adopt the same or similar measures. UEFA has always acted in a way to try to convince people rather than impose.

"The way I read the FA's decision is that it could be five matches and it could also be 15. The FA are sure their way of regulating is more correct for England."

UEFA also announced tougher sanctions for insulting and assaulting match officials. The ban for insulting officials has been raised from two to three matches and for assaulting match officials from 10 to 15 matches.

In other decisions, UEFA has announced that the Champions League final in 2015 will take place in Berlin's Olympic Stadium and the Europa League final in Warsaw.

The Congress will also be presented with rules changes that could see Europe's top nations including England having up to five teams in the Champions League.

From 2015, the Europa League winners as well as the European champions will qualify automatically for the following season's Champions League, UEFA sources have confirmed to Press Association Sport.

But they will no longer take a place from the Premier League if they finish outside of the top four - as happened controversially with Tottenham last season when Chelsea won the Champions League but finished sixth.

The principle was agreed by UEFA's executive committee yesterday and is to be formally announced today.

Five clubs will be a maximum however. In the unlikely event of two clubs from the same country winning the Champions League and Europa League and both finishing outside of the domestic qualifying places, then those would still qualify for the Champions League but the side finishing fourth would miss out.

Under the changes the Europa League winner will usually qualify directly for the group phase of the Champions League although under some circumstances they may have to go into the final qualifying round.

Meanwhile, Manchester United's outgoing chief executive David Gill is expected to win election to UEFA's executive committee, replacing England's longstanding vice-president Geoff Thompson.

PA

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