Uefa postpones decision on England crowd disturbances

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The Independent Football

UEFA, the European game's governing body, has postponed until 17 December its verdict on the charges against the Slovak and English Football Associations arising from crowd trouble at last month's Euro 2004 qualifier in Bratislava.

UEFA, the European game's governing body, has postponed until 17 December its verdict on the charges against the Slovak and English Football Associations arising from crowd trouble at last month's Euro 2004 qualifier in Bratislava.

The FA had to answer allegations of improper conduct after England fans fought with police during the Group Seven game, while the Slovak FA faces charges of lack of organisation, racism by home fans directed at England players and lack of order and discipline.

A statement released by Uefa's control and disciplinary body yesterday said a disciplinary inspector would be appointed to conduct further investigations into the case following a detailed submission from the FA.

Uefa also confirmed that it is to scrap the second group phase of the Champions' League next season, on the grounds that too many matches are threatening to ruin the appeal of Europe's élite competition for supporters.

After four years with the current system, from next season the second group stage will be replaced by a two-legged knock-out system for the 16 teams who progress from the initial group stage.

Rules governing penalty shoot-outs are also set to be changed. Uefa's clubs committee has given the green light to a proposal by the Arsenal chief executive David Dein that the end of the ground at which shoot-outs take place be decided by the toss of a coin, with the winner choosing either which goal to use or to take the first kick.

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