Date: Jun 10, 2005
From: UEFA Internet article
Remark: Text only, see UEFA document for original lay-out.

Liverpool allowed to defend title

Copyright © 2005 UEFA

The UEFA Champions League holders Liverpool FC will compete in next season's 
Champions League first qualifying round. 

Right to defend

The UEFA Executive Committee decided to amend the regulations for the future 
editions of the Champions League, so that the holders will have the right to 
defend their title and therefore qualify automatically. At the same time, the 
number of clubs allowed per national association will remain stable based on 
coefficient ranking. 

Exceptional decision

"Exceptionally, for the upcoming season, the UEFA Executive Committee today 
decided to allow the current Champions League title-holders to defend their 
title," said UEFA in a statement. Liverpool finished fifth in the top English 
flight last season. 

First qualifying round

The Executive Committee also decided that Liverpool would enter the competition 
in the first qualifying round, to be played on 12/13 and 19/20 July, The draw 
for the first qualifying round is scheduled to take place on 24 June. 

No country protection

There will be no "country protection" for Liverpool, which means that they could 
be drawn to play another English club at any stage of the competition. English 
domestic champions Chelsea FC and Arsenal FC have qualified for the Champions 
League group stage, while Manchester United FC and Liverpool's neighbours 
Everton FC join the competition in the third qualifying round. 

Market pool share

In addition, Liverpool will be included in the English market pool share with 
the status of lowest-placed English club. 

Istanbul glory

Liverpool won the 2004/05 Champions League  the fifth time that the English 
side has taken European club football's most prestigious trophy  by beating AC 
Milan in a memorable final in Istanbul last month. They were 3-0 down at half-
time, but scored three times in the second half to force a draw and eventually 
win a penalty shoot-out 3-2. 

Unanimous decision  Olsson

"It was a unanimous decision  I think it was a very good decision," UEFA Chief 
Executive Lars-Christer Olsson told after the deliberations, "because 
there was a need for the amendment. 

Regulations amendment

"The Executive Committee took a decision to amend the regulations slightly for 
the Champions League, which means that in the future, the champions will always 
be able to defend their title, independently of how many slots each of the 
associations have," he added. "As a consequence, the Executive Committee decided 
to give Liverpool the opportunity to defend their title in the coming season. 

Champions' entitlement

"It means that in future, if [an association] has four free slots for example, 
one of these should be allocated to the [Champions League] champions if they 
have not qualified through the ordinary system in their domestic league," Mr 
Olsson continued. 

For the revised access list, please click here.

NOTE: The information included in this list is provisional and will be confirmed 
by UEFA in mid-June following the receipt of the official entry documents from 
each of the national associations.