Chelsea 'regret' Barcelona fall-out

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The Independent Online

The Chelsea chairman, Bruce Buck, is determined there will be no repeat of the ill-feeling which marred their clash with Barcelona in the Champions' League last season.

Buck says the club now regrets the sorry saga that led to a Uefa investigation into accusations that the Barca coach, Frank Rijkaard, and Swedish referee, Anders Frisk, were seen talking with each other at half-time in the Nou Camp.

Frisk resigned as a referee after being sent death threats, and the incident ended with Uefa giving Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho, a two-game touchline ban for his team's quarter-final with Bayern Munich. "With respect to the incident that led to a Uefa hearing, I guess I would say, from a Chelsea perspective, we regret that whole situation," said Buck.

"As we regret one or two other things that we might have done last year. But you learn by your mistakes. We're not perfect, we're human. We're trying to be a good football citizen and we're looking forward to moving forward."

Barcelona have already accused Chelsea of dirty tricks overtheir pitch, but the club deny leaving the surface in a poor state to upset Barca's passing style.

"We're not deliberately making it worse," Buck explained. " I've read they move the ball mostly on the ground; we move it in the air. I'm not sure that's an accurate portrayal of a Chelsea system."

The Norwegian referee Terje Hauge will take charge of tomorrow's first leg in the knock-out stages. He officiated at games of both sides during the group stage.

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