Atletico Madrid have confirmed that Uefa has temporarily lifted the two-game Champions League ban at Vicente Calderon.
The European governing body punished Atletico on Tuesday for the crowd trouble which occurred at their Champions League encounter with Marseille earlier this month.
As a result of the trouble, Atletico were ordered to play their next two home games in Europe at least 300km from their Madrid home and the Primera Liga club were also fined €150,000.
European football’s governing body issued the following statement on Thursday: “Following the decision of UEFA’s Control and Disciplinary Body to sanction Club Atlético de Madrid for a series of incidents at the UEFA Champions League Group D match against Olympique de Marseille on 1 October, the club has lodged an appeal against the decision and requested suspension of the sanctions to allow their match against Liverpool FC to be played in Madrid as originally scheduled.
“After immediate consideration of the request for suspension, and having considered in particular the organisational and logistical difficulties related to relocating the Club Atlético de Madrid v Liverpool FC match to another venue at short notice, the chairman of the Appeals Body has decided to grant the request for suspension of the sanctions.
“Consequently, UEFA can confirm that the UEFA Champions League match between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC will take place as scheduled on 22 October at the Vicente Calderón Stadium in Madrid.
“It should be emphasised that suspension of the sanctions does not mean that the decision of the Control and Disciplinary Body has been set aside. The decision remains in force pending a full hearing of the appeal which will take place on Friday 31 October at the UEFA Headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.
“UEFA is however keen to stress that safety and security matters, including efficient cooperation with the police, are of the utmost priority and that there is a zero tolerance policy for incidents concerning racism in football. The match between Club Atlético de Madrid and Liverpool FC will be under particular scrutiny and UEFA is ready to take immediate and further action if there are any reported incidents at this match.”
Unfair on fans
Uefa announced it may reconsider its decision after a number of sources expressed their their disappointment at the short notice ahead of Liverpool’s trip to Spain next Wednesday.
Liverpool manager, Rafael Benitez condemned the late switch in venue for his side’s Champions League match with Atletico Madrid, calling it unfair on the club’s fans.
“We know about the loyalty of our fans and we know about the incredible lengths they go to to support us,” the Spaniard said yesterday.
“They have an incredible passion for the club, which means they follow us all over Europe at great expense and we always appreciate that. That is why we are so worried by this ruling.
“We can understand why Uefa feel they have to act, but in this case maybe this time it has come too late. To change the venue of the game at such a late stage would cause massive problems to our fans, and that is not fair.”
Atletico president Enrique Cerezo had always been confident the Liverpool game will be held at his club’s own ground.
“I urge the fans to be calm because the game will be played at the Vicente Calderon,” Cerezo said.
“Any other decision would create a social, logistic and security problem.
“There is no other stadium available and we are convinced that this game will be played here because Atletico has done nothing wrong.”