Uefa chief denies Blues attack
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Uefa president Lennart Johansson has denied singling out Chelsea for criticism.
Uefa president Lennart Johansson has denied singling out Chelsea for criticism following comments he made regarding club ownership.
The Swede reflected on the issues that will be crucial to the game in the coming years during a press conference on Thursday, with some of his comments interpreted as an implicit attack on the Premiership champions and their Russian owner Roman Abramovich.
However, Johansson has now reassured Blues chief executive Peter Kenyon that he would never look to single out one club, with his observations being of a general nature.
"I'm saddened if my remarks are used against any individual club because it's not for me to comment on any club compared to another," said Johansson.
"As we look across the European football scene it's clear that there are many issues and challenges that have to be faced.
"I have highlighted two of these (player behaviour and club ownership) which are matters for the whole of the game to consider but I do not regard this as a matter for one club or one individual.
"I do have concerns about the future direction of club ownership but we have to be realistic about the realities of the market.
"The important thing is to ensure good corporate governance and financial transparency. These should be the aims of every professional football club."
Johansson also sought to distance himself from comments that Chelsea are 'sure' to face action after their tempestuous UEFA Champions League tie against Barcelona.
The 2-2 draw at Camp Nou saw ten bookings, six of which were shown to Chelsea, as well as a number of other incidents which ensured a tricky night for referee Stefano Farina.
Whilst The Blues are likely to be fined for exceeding five yellow cards in one game, Johansson insisted that Uefa's disciplinary bodies will deal with any other issues arising from both side's actions at Camp Nou.
"On the crucial issue of behaviour in the game I do think there were issues at the recent Barcelona versus Chelsea match which will need to be looked at by the Uefa disciplinary bodies in relation to both clubs," Johansson added.
"It's a matter for the Uefa disciplinary process, not for me personally. It's not my intention to single out any individual."
The memorable European clash was another chance for Portuguese shot-stopper Hilario to press his claims for a starting role ahead of Carlo Cudicini, with Petr Cech absent due to a serious injury.
The former Porto custodian has now revealed he has been in constant contact with his stricken team-mate since the incident at Reading that has left Cech sidelined for a number of months.
"We have exchanged messages and we have spoken and encouraged each other in our conversations," said Hilario.
"When he suffered the injury I followed it all the way. It was a shock what happened to Petr and I stayed with him to help. I was thinking only of Petr.
"I understood it was a risk coming to Chelsea but when I arrived I said I wanted to work hard, be part of the team and make it difficult for the coach.
"At the start of the season nobody told me playing in the Nou Camp was a possibility for me but I believe I could have played in any match for Chelsea."