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The Part UEFA Played in Eastern European Civil War

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Revelatory documents pertaining to memo communication between the UN and European football federation UEFA have today been unearthed. The documents, publicly available thanks to new European freedom of information legislation, appear to imply a link between the instigation of hostilities in the former Yugoslavia and the subsequent expulsion of the country’s national football side from the 1992 European Championships.

The tournament was historically notable for the disqualification of Yugoslavia and the resulting replacement by qualification runners-up Denmark, who went on to secure an unlikely victory after a memorable win over Germany in the final. If genuine, the documents appear to shed light on a scandal involving figures right at the top, including senior UN ambassadors, the Danish government and UEFA president Lennart Johansson.

Allegations allude to an intervention by the Danish government, via the UN, to initiate the war in order to get Yugoslavia expelled from the competition.

Officials at both the UN and the government of Denmark have been quick to refute the allegations, while there have been calls to instigate a full-scale investigation into the matter. When pressed on the situation, a spokesman for the UN called the information in the memo “wholly unsubstantiated and a fraudulent hoax”. Preliminary reactions from UN members expressed deep concern about the state of affairs, and prompted an angry response from leaders in former Yugoslavian countries. A Croatian official at UN headquarters told journalists that a heated exchange had taken place in an emergency meeting to clarify the claims, which is alleged to have ended with the Croatian delegate sliding in dangerously on the Danish ambassador.

The news comes just months after the Italian football scandal that saw players, referees, managers and chairmen, among others, punished for improper conduct. The incident sparked major repercussions as top Italian clubs were fined and deducted points. This latest situation would seem to serve to highlight again the corruption that threatens to engulf football across the continent.

At Downing Street this morning, Prime Minister Tony Blair’s press secretary urged restraint on all sides at this stage and called for patience until the full details could be ascertained, adding “it all sounds like a load of bollocks to me”.