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Blues: We didn't lean on referee
Published : 11 Apr 2009 10:30:00
Chelsea have denied attempting to exert any pressure on referee Claus Bo Larsen before Wednesday's Champions League quarter-final at Liverpool. Danish official Larsen claims a Blues representative spoke to him at a UEFA security meeting on the morning of the game at Anfield and suggested he should try to avoid booking any Chelsea players who were already on a yellow card and who therefore risked being suspended for the second leg. Larsen, in quotes reported by the Daily Express, said: "I've never experienced anything like this. "When we had a safety meeting on Wednesday morning, a representative from Chelsea said, 'Claus Bo, you should just remember that we have some players who have a yellow card already and we are not so excited if they get one again'. "The meeting was standard practice before a major European fixture and among those in attendance were Chelsea secretary David Barnard, his Liverpool counterpart Ian Sylvester, Merseyside Police and UEFA officials, including the match delegate. "We were quite shocked," added Larsen. "I have been to more than 100 safety meetings, and this is the first time I experienced such a thing. "It was while Liverpool and UEFA and other people were there. I responded by saying that if a player does something for a yellow card, he gets a yellow card." Larsen went on to book John Terry during the first leg for a challenge on Pepe Reina, resulting in the Blues skipper having to serve a one-match ban at Stamford Bridge next Tuesday. The decision infuriated Terry, who felt it was harsh and that Reds players had demanded a yellow card was shown. But Larsen added: "When a player tries to jump after a goalkeeper who has the ball, to prevent the enemy from turning, then he must also pay at a bank. So he received the card anyway." On learning of Larsen's comments on Friday night, Chelsea were quick to deny any wrongdoing and said the issue was raised as two Liverpool players - Alvaro Arbeloa and Andrea Dossena - were also walking a disciplinary tightrope, along with Terry, Ashley Cole and Nicolas Anelka. A statement said: "UEFA organisational meetings are opportunities for all parties to raise valid issues in relation to that day's game. "Therefore, it was an appropriate meeting in which to raise the issue of both teams fielding players on yellow cards. "Chelsea did not raise the issue solely in relation to Chelsea players." UEFA may now decide to take further action when they reconvene after the Easter holidays.