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Champions League Tie May Be Played In Ukraine


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From Friday's Times:


Liverpool relieved after Dynamo agree to play host

By James Ducker


MACCABI HAIFA, the Israeli club, have approached Dynamo Kiev about the prospect of staging their Champions League third round qualifying tie against Liverpool in Ukraine.

The final decision will rest with Uefa, European football?s governing body, but after Dynamo agreed in principal to Haifa?s request, it appears certain that Liverpool will be spared a trip to war-affected Israel. Uefa is expected to confirm the decision on Monday.


The Lobanovsky Stadium has a capacity of only 16,900, but although Liverpool may push for the game ? due to be played on August 22 or 23 ? to be held at a bigger venue, the Merseyside club are likely to accept any ruling that ensures the safety of their players, staff and supporters is not compromised.


Haifa had been keen to play the game in Tel Aviv and Itzhak Menachem, the president of the Israeli FA, has accused Uefa of bowing to pressure from Europe?s top clubs to switch venues.


?I was approached by people from the Israeli club and also Israel?s ambassador in Ukraine, Naomi Ben-Ami, who asked if it would be possible to play the game in Kiev,? Igor Surkis, the Dynamo president, said.


?I gave my provisional consent and said that security during the match would be guaranteed. The Ukrainian football federation have already been informed about our initial agreement, as any final decisions over the staging of the game must be taken by them and Uefa.?


There was more good news for Liverpool yesterday after it emerged that Newcastle United were planning talks with Empoli over the signing of Francesco Tavano, the striker, a move that could complicate their attempts to sign Dirk Kuyt, the Feyenoord and Holland forward.


Liverpool are also interested in Kuyt, although their main competition may yet come from Manchester United, who have earmarked the Dutchman as a replacement for Ruud van Nistelrooy.


Lazaros Christodoulopoulos, another Liverpool target, has appealed to Uefa to release him from his contract with PAOK, the Greek club.


The 20-year-old striker is understood to have impressed Rafael Benítez, the Liverpool manager, during a trial but PAOK?s refusal to release him has sparked a bitter war of words and prompted the player to approach Uefa.

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