AHEAD OF THE GAME: Liverpool left furious by UEFA’s ban on celebrating with family members on the pitch if they win the Champions League… while Man United chief Richard Arnold increases security at his home after previous attacks on Ed Woodward
- UEFA have banned players from celebrating with their families on the pitch
- Liverpool players are believed to be angry with UEFA’s hard-line stance
- Man United chief executive Richard Arnold has increased security at his home
- This follows attacks on his predecessor Ed Woodward’s property in the past
The domestic football season is drawing to a close, with the Champions League final and two play-off finals set to take place this weekend.
It promises to be a fascinating couple of days, full of highs and lows, while other clubs are already looking ahead to next term.
Sportsmail’s Matt Hughes delivers the latest news from the world of football…
The Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid will take place on Saturday
Liverpool’s players are unhappy with UEFA over a directive that they must not celebrate on the pitch with their families if they win the Champions League final.
UEFA told Sportsmail ‘security reasons’ were behind the ban at the Stade de France, despite it becoming commonplace for players’ children to come on to the pitch in numerous sports.
The players’ families joined them at Anfield as they went on a lap of appreciation following their final home game of the season against Wolves last Sunday, and it had been hoped they would be able to party together if they won the third trophy of a fine campaign in Paris.
To compound the players’ irritation, Liverpool’s ticket allocation for their families is far lower than Real Madrid’s. Liverpool’s family entourage has been capped at 382 for all players and staff, because the club are determined to make as many tickets available for fans as possible.
Real’s players have been permitted to buy up to 25 tickets each.
Liverpool players have been banned from celebrating on the pitch with their families if they win the Champions League
Numerous players were joined by family members after their final league game against Wolves
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE SCREEN TEST
The shape of the UK broadcast market should become clearer next month when UEFA put the TV rights out to tender for the reformed Champions League.
The auction for 2024 to 2027 will be the first covering the expanded competition, which will feature 36 clubs playing in the ‘Swiss system’ of one league table, with each side having eight rather than six group matches and the top 16 progressing to the first knockout stage.
BT Sport have held the UK rights since 2015 and the channel’s new owners, Discovery, are eager to retain them.
Sky have trimmed other sports content in recent years with a view to cementing their status as the home of football, so they are certain to bid, while UEFA are hopeful Amazon will make a serious offer having broadcast the Champions League in Germany this season.
The Premier League will be watching with interest in the hope Discovery, Amazon and other streaming services inflate prices after they opted to sell their TV rights to Sky and BT last year without an auction due to the pandemic.
UNITED CHIEF’S SECURITY DRIVE
Richard Arnold has stepped up the security at his Cheshire home since becoming Manchester United chief executive in February. Former executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward suffered shocking attacks by fans on his home on several occasions.
And while Arnold has not attracted the same level of criticism, the 51-year-old is conscious that he could become a target if the club’s struggles continue next season.
In addition to the threat from disgruntled fans, several United players have suffered burglaries in recent months, including Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Victor Lindelof. Arnold urged unhappy United fans this week to stop protesting and get behind new manager Erik ten Hag.
Manchester United chief executive Richard Arnold has stepped up his security at his home
BANNER STUNT BLIGHTS BURNLEY
The notorious ‘White Lives Matter’ banner that Burnley fans arranged to fly over the Etihad Stadium during a Premier League game two years ago is hindering the club’s search for new investment.
Several potential American investors are understood to have mentioned the banner after being approached about buying into the club, suggesting Burnley are still suffering reputational damage from the incident, particularly in the United States, the home of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Burnley were quick to condemn the banner and promised life-time bans for those responsible, with captain Ben Mee saying he felt ashamed and embarrassed by the stunt.
Burnley flew a ‘White Lives Matter’ banner over the Etihad Stadium back in 2020
NO PSYCHO DRAMA AT NORWICH
Norwich have reacted to a dismal season that brought just five Premier League wins and saw them relegated from the top flight by seeking to appoint a senior performance psychologist.
Given Dean Smith’s side finished a mammoth 16 points adrift of safety, the successful candidate has their work cut out as they attempt to lift morale and boost performance during the close season.
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