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UEFA chief slams Champions League back door on Spurs

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May 03, 2006 21:51 IST

There will be no back door into the Champions League for Tottenham Hotspur if rivals Arsenal win the final of Europe's elite club competition, UEFA's chief executive told Reuters on Wednesday.

"I am afraid I have to tell Spurs that there is no alternative," Lars-Christer Olsson told Reuters television.

Spurs are currently fourth in the Premier League, a position that normally guarantees qualification for the Champions League. However, should north London rivals Arsenal beat Barcelona in the final in Paris on May 17, they will leapfrog Spurs into next season's Champions League and Tottenham will be relegated to the UEFA Cup.

Spurs, with one game left, are four points ahead of fifth-placed Arsenal who have two games remaining.

The rule was imposed after Liverpool won last season's Champions League. Liverpool's local rivals Everton had finished fourth in the Premier League ahead of Liverpool.

UEFA ruled then that both clubs could enter Europe's top competition, but warned there would be no repeat and only four English sides would be allowed in next season's competition.

"This time around we are prepared. We have put the rules in place and those rules will stand," Olsson said.

"Of course on the pitch, Spurs will feel hard done by and it is a difficult decision, but England will only have four teams and Arsenal will be invited back if they are champions."

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