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Last Updated:  Sunday, 6 April, 2003, 10:04 GMT 11:04 UK
Uefa rebuffs Ferguson claims
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson
Ferguson is unhappy with the draw
Uefa has rejected claims by Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson that the Champions League draw was fixed.

The United manager cast doubt on the authenticity of the quarter-final draw after the Spanish and Italian clubs were kept apart.

Uefa has countered by brandishing Ferguson's comments "silly" and arguing he is merely trying to motivate his players ahead of Tuesday's match against Real Madrid.

"It's a bit unfortunate, it's a bit silly and it's not true," Uefa spokesman Mike Lee told BBC Radio Five Live.

It is a fair and open draw which has produced fantastic ties
Uefa spokesman Mike Lee
"It sounds a bit like some of Fergie's mind games that he sometimes plays ahead of major matches.

"If you're a player and you think the world's against you perhaps it helps to motivate you."

Lee also argued this is not the first time Uefa has been accused of favouring one country over another.

"The fact is that in Italy Uefa are accused of being biased towards Germany and in Spain we are accused of being biased towards Italy," added Lee.

"It is just par for the course. It is a fair and open draw which has produced fantastic ties.

"I'm afraid that Ferguson's comments don't fit with reality.

"It is a shame when we have so much to look forward to that we have these sorts of accusations."

As well as pairing United against Real Madrid, the quarter-final draw pitched AC Milan with Ajax, Inter Milan against Valencia and Juventus versus Barcelona.

All of which promoted Ferguson to say: "It was a nice draw for the Spanish and Italians, I think they picked it themselves.

"The three Italian teams have avoided each other and so have the three Spanish. How do you think that worked out?

"I can tell you, Uefa don't want us in the final, that's for sure.

"I don't know why they have given the final to Old Trafford because they don't want us to get there," said Ferguson in the Sunday Mirror newspaper.

Uefa spokesman Mike Lee
"These comments do not fit with reality"


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