The soccer season is over, but the great debate continues — should Liverpool, champions of Europe, be permitted to defend its crown next year, or should the club be excluded by virtue of not meeting the requirement of finishing in the English top four this year. Despite being a supporter of Liverpool’s arch-rivals, Everton, it seemed to me that, as a sporting proposition, Liverpool should be invited to defend the title.
Martina Navratilova doesn’t see it that way. During a visit to Liverpool’s stadium to view the European trophy, the tennis legend took the hard-line position that Liverpool has only itself to blame for its exclusion, and should receive no exception to the rules. She has a point, and not just in terms of upholding the rules. European champions or not, it’s hard to see why any club that couldn’t finish ahead of Everton should play for next year’s European title. And even though Liverpool won’t take Everton’s spot, my cash-strapped club will probably have to split the European money five ways instead of four, if the “Scum” participates. On the other hand, it’s clear to me (and I say this grudgingly) that if Liverpool had not been burdened by one huge European match after another, it would have finished well ahead of Everton.
In the end, I guess I would still like to see Liverpool defend, but I’ll shed no tears if the decision goes the other way.
JOHN adds an antidote for baseball fans: The Twins just took two out of three from the Yankees without using either of their top two pitchers, and with half their lineup out, replaced by Rochester call-ups. The Twins won the rubber game 9-3, with a Rochester call-up laying down a perfect bunt on a squeeze play to score one of the Twins’ runs. I don’t think Mr. Steinbrenner enjoyed the series very much.
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