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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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By ESPN Staff

UEFA stand firm over Huntelaar and Diarra

UEFA have reiterated their stance that Real Madrid will not be able to register both Lassana Diarra and Klaas Jan Huntelaar to play in the Champions League knock-out stages.

Regulations state that only one player who has already played in Europe this season can be registered.

Holland striker Huntelaar has played in the Champions League with Ajax, while Diarra represented Portsmouth in the UEFA Cup prior to both players agreeing deals which will see them move to Madrid on January 1.

Madrid have revealed they intend to appeal, claiming they have a "different interpretation" of the rule, but UEFA insist any complaints will fall on deaf ears and the Spanish champions will be forced to choose between their new signings.

"The regulation doesn't offer any other meaning than it has and Real Madrid can only register one," said director of communications William Gaillard.

"Making an exception now with Real Madrid would mean that we would have to pay attention to the different needs of each club and the consequence would be a never-ending chain of favours.

"Many changes would happen which would end in changing the spirit of the competition."

Gaillard did not rule out amending the rules in the future but insisted any change would happen at the end of the season.

"Changing a rule in the middle of the competition is something that you shouldn't do," he said. "Because what Madrid are asking for is a new rule.

"For any change you would have to wait until the end of the season. It is something that at this time we could look at, but there is an unwritten UEFA rule that is equally solid that indicates that a rule should not be changed in the midst of a competition."

Despite Gaillard's comments, Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon is reportedly convinced of a successful outcome when club officials meet UEFA president Michel Platini in the next few days in an effort to resolve the matter.

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