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Apr 26, 2013

UEFA witholds solidarity payments

Around £1.1 million in solidarity payments have been held back from the English Football Association for playing domestic football matches at the same time as European games.

The fine applies to the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons with UEFA insisting that Premier League, FA Cup and Carling Cup (now Capital One Cup) matches should not clash with fixtures in the Champions League and the Europa League.

Prior to this season numerous games did clash with such ties, and on March 13, 2012 the Merseyside derby between Liverpool and Everton was televised live on Sky Sports at the same time as the Champions League tie between Bayern Munich and FC Basel plus Inter Milan against Marseille.

All other leagues in Europe schedule domestic league and cup games to kick-off no later than 5.30pm (UK time) to ensure that the matches have been completed by the time Champions League games begin. However, this is usually considered impossible in England due to this time being the end of the working day, making it difficult for travel and for spectators to attend, and for the necessary police cover and permission.

As a result, the Football Association has agreed to pay £42,000 and that a further £1.1 million of solidarity payments that were withheld by UEFA be distributed to other European countries.

UEFA said in a statement: "The control and disciplinary board also issued a decision concerning the proceedings initiated against the English Football Association [FA] regarding calendar clashes relating to the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons.

"Accepting a resolution of the case between the parties, the FA will pay €50,000 and the 10% of the UEFA Champions League distribution payment for 2010-11, which was withheld, will be added at the end of the current campaign to the pot for distribution to the respective clubs in the relevant remaining UEFA member associations.

"In addition, UEFA will now establish a working group, which will involve representatives of the FA, in order to avoid calendar clashes in future.''

This season no Premier League team has played at the same time as a European match, but some FA Cup games have clashed - such as the replay between Blackburn and Millwall last month.

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