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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 28, 2007

Blatter blast over United-Lille tie venue choice

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has blasted the decision to use Lens' stadium as the venue for Manchester United's Champions League match against Lille.

United believe a catastrophe was only narrowly averted after fans became crushed against metal fences in a section of the ground during last week's knockout match.

Blatter said: 'I cannot understand that those who organise the Champions League accept a stadium like Lens to play such a match.

'In Lens, there are fences still, and it should not be permitted to play Champions League matches in such a stadium.'

Blatter added that since the Hillsborough disaster Britain had set a great example by removing fences and using all-seater stadia.

He said: 'It should be an example for everywhere else in the world. There is comfort and security in the stadia where everyone is seated and you have no fences.

'If this was applied to all the other big leagues some would not face the problems they are facing now.'

Lille have tried to blame United for the crowd problems, claiming their early distribution of tickets allowed high-quality fakes to be produced.

Damien Vanoise, the head of security at the Stade Felix-Bollaert in Lens, accused United fans of sparking the problems by 'violent behaviour'.

United have answered the allegations in a report to UEFA, who will deal with the incident on March 22.

It is understood United will tell the UEFA the poor quality of the tickets provided by the French club allowed forgeries to be made easily, and will provide a dossier of evidence from fans about the incidents in the stadium.

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