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Reds duo rue stadium ban

Hot-shot hopes a 'solution' can be found

Last Updated: 14/10/08 5:40pm

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Torres: Devastated by ban

Torres: Devastated by ban

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Liverpool hot-shot Fernando Torres is gutted to have been denied a return to Atletico Madrid as Jose Reina offered his sympathy to fans who had bought tickets.

Torres was greatly anticipating a return to the Vicente Calderon next week after spending his formative years with the Primera Liga side.

But Liverpool's UEFA Champions League clash away to the Spanish outfit will now be played at a neutral venue after European football's governing body imposed a three-match stadium ban - one game suspended - for racism.

Uefa took the drastic action, which also includes a 150,000 euros (£120,000) fine, after crowd trouble and racist abuse marred Atletico's win over Marseille earlier this month.

Torres, who came up through the ranks at Atletico before moving to Liverpool last year, heard the disappointing news while on international duty with Spain in Belgium.

He now hopes there can be a 'solution' to allow the game - which will be played on Wednesday 22nd October at 7.45pm and be screened on Sky Sports 3 - to take place at the Vicente Calderon.

Worst news

Torres told Marca: "After so much time waiting, it is the worst and most unexpected news that I could have heard this morning.

"I'm eager to go back. I don't know if it is definitive, I hope that a solution can be found.

"It is a shame that these incidents have forced the stadium to be closed, but if this is what happens then we have to accept it."

Goalkeeper Reina, Torres' team-mate for club and country, whose father Miguel Reina Santos played for Atletico in the 1970s, added: "It's a huge blow for us, the Spanish players at Liverpool. Above all for Fernando, who was the most eager of all of us to visit the Calderon.

Had commitments

"As well as that, we all had commitments, tickets agreed, and this changes all the plans."

The sanctions against Atletico represent Uefa's toughest action ever on racist behaviour.

Rojiblancos' coach Javier Aguirre has also been banned for his club's home and away fixtures against Liverpool for insulting Marseille player Mathieu Valbuena.

Uefa confirmed the penalties on Tuesday and said the next two Champions League home games cannot be played within 300 kilometres of Madrid.

The one match suspension will be invoked if there is a repeat of crowd trouble or racist chanting within the next five years.

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