UEFA may be forced to redo the draw for the Champions League last 16 after an apparent error involving Manchester United’s ball.
United were initially drawn against Villarreal, which should have been an impossibility in line with competition rules as the two sides qualified from the same group.
Then the Red Devils’ ball was seemingly left out of the pot of potential opponents for Atletico Madrid when it should have been included. Bizarrely, Liverpool’s was included despite the Reds qualifying from the same section as Atletico.
The mistake was compounded when both Atletico and Man Utd were handed tough last 16 ties. Diego Simeone’s side were eventually drawn against Bayern Munich, while Ralf Rangnick’s United are set to face Paris Saint-Germain as things stand.
The error – broadcast live on YouTube and BT Sport – caused outrage on social media, with several journalists and supporters calling for a re-draw, and UEFA has subsequently launched an investigation with a decision expected imminently.
According to the Mirror, European football’s governing body is ‘looking into the episode and whether the draw must be performed again, to preserve the integrity of the competition’.
In a conflicting report, The Athletic write that there is ‘not yet an indication’ that the draw could be restaged, while Real Madrid do not want the draw to be scrapped having come out of the hat with Benfica before things went wrong.
Marca report that Atletico Madrid have requested an explanation from UEFA, with the blunder leading them to be drawn against the strongest side in Europe in Bayern when they could have faced Man Utd.
It was revealed at 12.45pm that UEFA had agreed to a re-draw.