Rules are rules, even in football

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Retrospective rule changes are always a bad idea, and the change that will allow Liverpool to defend their Champions' League title next year is no exception. Liverpool knew the rules when they qualified last year and those rules were the same when they won the trophy. For Uefa to change them now is blatant - and needless - pandering to sentiment and national pressure.

Retrospective rule changes are always a bad idea, and the change that will allow Liverpool to defend their Champions' League title next year is no exception. Liverpool knew the rules when they qualified last year and those rules were the same when they won the trophy. For Uefa to change them now is blatant - and needless - pandering to sentiment and national pressure.

Yes, Liverpool displayed fortitude verging on heroism in their victory over AC Milan. The team gave their supporters, their city and the country a lift. Their reward was the trophy and widespread public adulation.

That should suffice. Of course, the victory in Istanbul also highlighted a problem, born in part of the competitiveness of the English Premier League. Liverpool had won the international trophy, but had not done well enough at home to qualify for the competition next year. A rule change to allow champions to defend their title might be in order, but not applied retrospectively.

Respect for the rules is essential to sport, and - although it might not always seem so - that includes football. For Liverpool not to be able to defend its trophy next year may seem unfair - but it is not nearly as unfair as manipulating an unqualified team into the competition.

Comments