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UEFA forced into embarrassing climbdown after Liverpool accusations

UEFA have climbed down over the accusations against Liverpool fans this week.

Michel Platini, the president of European football's governing body, distanced himself from a slur on the reputation of the club's supporters by one of his colleagues.

Platini appeared to absolve Liverpool's fans of blame for the crowd trouble at the Champions League final in Athens last month after Tom Hicks, the club's American co-chairman, had joined Rick Parry, the chief executive, and Steven Gerrard in condemning William Gaillard, the Uefa director of communications, for blaming supporters for the poor security arrangements.

Asked whether Liverpool fans were to blame for problems in Athens, Platini said: "No, we cannot say that. We cannot point the finger. And, no, they are not the worst behaved in Europe. The issue is not that they are English or Spanish, one club or another. It is simply about fans who travel without tickets. This is an old story. It is just that more English fans follow their clubs than those from other countries. It is not as if one set of fans are good or one set bad."

Platini's embarrassing back down came less than 24 hours after Hicks had branded Gaillard "a clown" for his accusations levelled at Reds fans.

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