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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug, 31, 2007

UEFA promises better protection for United fans

UEFA have promised that special measures will be taken to protect Manchester United fans in Rome in the Champions League this season.

Eleven supporters were hospitalised after the quarter-final against Roma in the Stadio Olimpico last season, many after a baton charge by riot police inside the ground.

United will seek assurances about their fans' safety and UEFA say there will be changes to the arrangements after the two clubs were drawn in the same group of the Champions League.

William Gaillard, UEFA communications director and special advisor to president Michel Platini, said: 'We will take special care of Manchester United fans because we know they had trouble.

'We will tighten up security to make sure they don't get a repeat of the incident.

'The Italian FA have a new training programme for stewards. It is something that is being applied in the Italian League - we hope that will make a difference. It means we will have well trained stewards instead of riot police.'

United chief executive David Gill said: 'There were unacceptable scenes last time we were in Rome and looking at it from our perspective, our fans were blameless.

'We will work with the authorities, with Roma and UEFA to make sure there is no repeat of what happened because we want it to be remembered as a great game on the pitch.'

United will also face Sporting Lisbon and Dynamo Kiev in Group F and should be confident of making the knockout stages given they beat Roma 7-1 at Old Trafford last season.

Chelsea will be up against Valencia, Schalke and Rosenborg in Group B and chief executive Peter Kenyon was relieved that being top seeds for the first times mean they avoid Barcelona, Real Madrid and the Milan clubs.

Kenyon said: 'The big difference for us this season is being seeded particularly when you see who the other top seeds were.'

Liverpool are in Group A and have a straightforward-looking task against Porto, Marseille and Besiktas.

Reds chief executive Rick Parry said: 'I think we are happy. 'We have been to Turkey often enough and have played Marseille and Porto in recent years. It will also be good to see Djibril (Cisse) and Bolo (Zenden) again.'

Arsenal should also be confident of getting out of Group H where they will play Slavia Prague, Steaua Bucharest and Seville or AEK Athens. Seville are 2-0 up but the second leg of the qualifier was postponed following the death of their midfielder Antonio Puerta.

Celtic will meet title holders AC Milan again in Group D with Benfica and Shakhtar Donetsk.

Celtic chairman Brian Quinn said: 'We respect them but we do not fear them. We qualified last year from a tough group and I think the team is stronger. We have got a somewhat different style of play, a more attacking style, and they are fearless.'

Rangers face a daunting task in Group E with Barcelona, Lyon and Stuttgart, Real Madrid are in Group C with Werder Bremen, Lazio and Olympiakos and Group G is made up of Inter Milan, PSV Eindhoven, CSKA Moscow and Fenerbahce.

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