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  Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 19:16 GMT
Uefa rejects Juve plea
Juventus coach Marcello Lippi
Marcello Lippi is running out of players
A plea by Juventus to have Wednesday's Champions League fixture against Manchester United postponed has been rejected by Uefa.

Flu has decimated the Italian side, with Lilian Thuram, David Trezeguet, Alessio Tacchinardi, Damiano Zenoni as well as coach Marcello Lippi suffering with the virus.

Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, defender Alessandro Birindelli, midfielder Gianluca Zambrotta and strikers Marcelo Salas and Marco di Vaio have not even made the trip from Turin because of the illness.

"Juventus asked and we've turned down the request," a Uefa spokesman confirmed.

Three members of Juve's youth team, defender Daniele Gastaldello and midfielders Matteo Paro and Ruben Olivera have been flown in to bolster their squad for the game at Old Trafford..

We are not in the presence of a case of force majeure

Uefa cheif executive Gerhard Aigner

Under Champions League rules, a club can ask to have the match postponed because of "unforseen circumstances" and not forfeit any points.

Uefa's chief operating officer Gerhard Aigner had the final say on the Juventus appeal after consultation with his delegate in Manchester.

"After receiving the specialist advice from the Uefa doctor and as Juventus have now flown over further players, I am satisfied they are in a position to field a suitable team to face Manchester United.

"We are not in the presence of a case of force majeure," he added.

Lippi had admitted on Tuesday night that in his long managerial career, he had never been faced with such an "extraordinary" situation.

"There were three or four players running near 40 degree temperatures," he said.

"We only have 15 players to start with, plus the three I have brought in from the reserves."


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19 Feb 03 | Champions League
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