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Uefa rules out Euro final switch

Stadio Olimpico
Rome last staged a Champions League final in 1996 when Juventus won

Uefa has ruled out moving the Champions League final away from Rome after an Arsenal fan was stabbed before their game with Roma on Wednesday.

The Liberal Democrats have called for the final to be taken away from Rome.

But Uefa believes there are logistical problems in switching the match as the final is due to take place on 27 May.

"We are two months from the event, so it's not really possible," said William Gaillard, special advisor to Uefa president Michel Platini.

Last season's final in Moscow was contested between two English clubs - Manchester United and Chelsea - and there is a strong possibility there will be a Premier League club in the final again with Arsenal, Liverpool and last year's two finalists in the quarter-finals.

And Lib Dem sports spokesman Don Foster has written to sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe, raising his concern that fans of the four English clubs - if any of the top-flight teams reach the final - may not be safe if they have to travel to the Italian capital.

We aren't thinking of moving the final at this stage

William Gaillard
"With Italian authorities seemingly incapable of keeping travelling fans safe, it seems totally inappropriate for them to hold the Champions League final," said Foster.

"There have been at least 23 stabbings and numerous attacks on English fans in Rome over the last few years. Something seems to be going badly wrong in the way Italian football is being policed."

Speaking before Foster's call for the switch, Gallaird said he believes the absence of any Italian clubs in the competition after Juventus, Inter Milan and Roma were knocked out by Chelsea, United and Arsenal this week will help the Italian police.

"Roma has now become a defacto neutral venue for the final which should make life easier," said Gallaird.

"Wednesday's incident gives us food for thought, but we are confident we will have everything in place to ensure a safe final for all fans.

"This was a regrettable incident and any incident like this is one too many. We've been speaking to the Italian authorities regularly in the run up to final and we will be asking them to step up their efforts in light of this event.

"We aren't thinking of moving the final at this stage."

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see also
Roma 1-0 Arsenal (agg 1-1)
11 Mar 09 |  Europe

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