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Workshop dialogue welcomed

Published: Tuesday 5 February 2002, 22.00CET
UEFA and Europe's major clubs have welcomed the co-operation shown at the UEFA Club Workshop.
Published: Tuesday 5 February 2002, 22.00CET

Workshop dialogue welcomed

UEFA and Europe's major clubs have welcomed the co-operation shown at the UEFA Club Workshop.

UEFA and Europe's major clubs have welcomed the spirit of mutual co-operation which they say has marked this week's UEFA Club Workshop in Nyon, Switzerland.

Key issues
European football's governing body and representatives of more than 70 European clubs concluded two days of talks on key European football issues on Tuesday.

Proposed UEFA Cup overhaul
Consensus was reached at the meeting to support an overhaul of the UEFA Cup from the 2003/04 season, with a proposed format based on a mixture of knockout stages and one group stage comprising eight groups of four teams each.

Useful event
UEFA chief executive Gerhard Aigner told after the meeting: "I think that it was a very useful event. We have been able to present matters to the clubs on interesting subjects, and we were able to get feedback from the clubs in these matters. So we are happy, and we were particularly happy with the active participation of the clubs, and their input."

Indication from clubs
Speaking about the discussions on changing the UEFA Cup format, the UEFA CEO said: "We have now got an indication from the clubs what they think would be a favourable format for them. That gives us the possibility to develop that further, but there are lots of implications which we have to analyse, and a lot of work remains to be done until we can take a final decision. "

Champions League support
Earlier, leading club representatives told a press conference that the clubs had confirmed their support for the current UEFA Champions League format of 32 teams with two group phases.

Close co-operation
"We have nothing to say against the existing format, we have been working very closely to get this format approved," said Milan AC general manager Umberto Gandini. "We are steadily working closer to UEFA in order to develop the game of football."

Unanimous approval
Arsenal FC vice-chairman David Dein said: "The clubs unanimously approved UEFA's initiative. It's very important in this day and age that the clubs should be close to UEFA, and vice-versa."

Excellent dialogue
RSC Anderlecht president Roger Vandenstock said: "In the past, UEFA was criticised for not having enough communication with the clubs. I think that the current dialogue is an excellent initiative which has been accepted unanimously."

Artificial turf
UEFA also used its club workshop to explain its stance on the use of artificial turf for competitive matches. European football's governing body is encouraging leagues to use an artificial turf surface for one season in one stadium at the higher levels. "We would get feedback from the professional world about the quality and the playing conditions on such fields under competitive circumstances," said Mr Aigner.

Test period
The UEFA CEO added that there could be no use of artificial turf at international level if approval was not forthcoming at domestic league level.  "We cannot consider the use of artificial turf without having such a test period under serious conditions," he said.  

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