UEFA have confirmed that Liverpool FC have been expelled from this season’s Europa League after fielding an ineligible player during their victory over Man United in the last 16. Mamadou Sakho later tested positive for a banned substance and UEFA argue Liverpool gained an “unfair advantage” by fielding the player.
Consequently, Liverpool’s main rivals, Man United, are to be reinstated into the competition according to Europe’s governing body, in a move that has angered Liverpool and Dortmund fans alike. UEFA secretary Gianni Infantino, says the reason for United’s inclusion ahead of Dortmund, was part of the punishment handed down to Liverpool. “Unlike FIFA, UEFA must show that we are strict on breaches of UEFA law,” he said, “so we felt that simply removing Liverpool was not sufficient punishment for a breach this severe.”
Given Liverpool and Dortmund’s fans’ mutual respect, UEFA felt that it be a far bigger punishment if Man Utd were reinstated in place of them. Jürgen Klopp was understandably outraged: “It is a disgusting decision. You know, it’s one thing to throw Liverpool out, but to not bring back Dortmund is even worse.”
Louis Van Gaal however praised UEFA for their “philosophy” on punishments and said he finally feels “vindicated” in the face of mounting media pressure. “All season long you [the media] write about how terrible Manchester United is. But now look. We are in the FA Cup final, we fight for the top positions in the league and we are in a European semi-final, despite already being knocked out twice this season. Not such a bad record I think.”