Klinsmann ban upheld

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The Independent Online
Football

Germany are expected to be told tomorrow that they will have to kick off their Euro 96 campaign with two top players suspended.

Uefa's executive committee are set to confirm at their meeting in Geneva that the one-match bans imposed on Jurgen Klinsmann and Steffen Freund for collecting two yellow cards in the qualifying competition will stand, despite German protests. It will mean they will miss the Germans' opening Group C match against the Czech Republic at Old Trafford on 9 June.

The Uefa executive committee has been unimpressed by the German quest to have bookings incurred in the qualifiers discounted for the finals. They have claimed that the hosts, England, would be going into the tournament with all their players eligible because they did not have to play in the qualifiers.

Five other players would also miss their country's opening games - Daniel Prodan (Romania), Yuri Nikiforov (Russia), Marc Hottiger (Switzerland), Danny Blind (Netherlands) and Miguel Angel Nadal (Spain), who is banned for two matches.

A Uefa spokesman, Massimo Gonella, said: "The rules are unlikely to be altered because the Germans are upset. When the competition was held in Germany in 1988 and they did not have to qualify, they did not complain then." Uefa will also announce whether coaches can nominate 21 or 22 man squads for Euro 96. This issue has been discussed for the best part of a year, but after pressure from England's coach, Terry Venables, among others, Uefa is expected to endorse 22-man squads, which will probably mean most will include a third goalkeeper.

Uefa is also expected to endorse a decision that England will not get back the Uefa Cup berth it lost as punishment for allowing Tottenham and Wimbledon to field under-strength sides in last summer's Intertoto Cup competition. For the first time, the Intertoto was used as a pre-qualifying competition for the Uefa Cup and the organisers' hand was strengthened this week when Bordeaux who, unlike the English clubs, took the Intertoto seriously, reached the Uefa Cup final. It took them 18 matches to do it, starting from their first Intertoto Cup match last June.

A large part of the meeting will be taken up discussing changes in formats for European Cup competitions. The executive is expected to announce that all 49 Uefa members will receive at least one place in the Uefa Cup, while the losers in the preliminary round of the European Cup before the Champions' League competition starts will automatically qualify for berths in the first round of the Uefa Cup.

The expansion of the Champions' League from 16 to 24 teams, and proposals for upgrading the Cup-Winners' Cup, will also be examined.

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