• Mustafa Shah

UCL Draw

The UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) Champions League is UEFA's elite club competition, with top clubs across the continent playing for the right to be crowned European champions. The tournament, then called the European Cup, began in 1955/56, with 16 sides taking part. Now 32 of the best teams from each of the registered countries compete against each other every year. This is one of the most important tournaments and one of the most watched tournaments in the world, boasting over 300 Million Viewers.


The first round of 16 teams is decided by a draw. The 16 clubs are divided into two groups of eight, one including the group winners and the other containing the runners-up from the group stage. A team is picked from each group to decide the matches, with the stipulations that a previous round winner and runner-up from the same group cannot be drawn together again and that clubs from the same domestic league cannot face each other.



Clubs are not divided into distinct pots in the quarterfinal and semi final draws. As a result, any surviving clubs, regardless of whether they were the group winners or runner-ups, might be drawn together. Because the quarterfinal and semifinal drawings are done simultaneously before the quarterfinals, the quarterfinal winners are unknown at the time of the semifinal draw.


The group stage matches finished recently, and the Round of 16 will start mid February. But as the draw for the Round of 16 happened, many errors occurred, and the draw had to be repeated. This made many followers of the tournament disappointed in the mismanagement of UEFA. Many soccer fans, especially those who supported Manchester United and PSG, were also disappointed as they wanted the stars of the sport Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to go head to head, as they did in the original draw.


On the other hand, UEFA states that it cited an error in the software that assigns which teams can be drawn against one another: Teams from the same group or country cannot face each other according to official tournament rules. The UEFA website said “Following a technical problem with the software of an external service provider that instructs the officials as to which teams are eligible to play each other, a material error occurred in the draw for the UEFA Champions League round of 16. As a result of this, the draw has been declared void and will be entirely redone.”


When the opponents for Spanish clubs Villarreal and Atletico Madrid were drawn, the concerns became apparent. For starters, Manchester United was incorrectly placed in the pot to meet Villarreal, despite the fact that they were in the same group. Manchester United's name was chosen and had to be rejected, leaving Manchester City as the winner.

That mistake led to another: Manchester United was not among the clubs in the pot as a potential opponent for Atletico Madrid when it should have been. UEFA recognized the errors and felt a do-over was necessary. The draw was repeated three hours after the original draw. Here are the finalized Round of 16 matchups that will be played beginning in February:

​Match

​Home team - 1st Leg

Home Team - 2nd Leg

First Leg Timings (EST)

Second Leg Timing (EST)

1

​RB Salzburg

vs

Bayern Munich

Feb 16 - 3:00 PM

Mar 8 - 3:00 PM

2

Sporting CP

vs

Manchester City

Feb 15 - 3:00 PM

Mar 9 - 3:00 PM

3

Benfica

vs

Ajax

Feb 23 - 3:00 PM

Mar 15 - 4:00 PM

4

Chelsea

vs

LOSC Lille

Feb 22 - 3:00 PM

Mar 16 - 4:00 PM

5

Atletico Madrid

vs

Manchester United

Feb 23 - 3:00 PM

Mar 15 - 4:00 PM

6

Villarreal

vs

​Juventus

Feb 22 - 3:00 PM

Mar 16 - 4:00 PM

7

Inter Milan

vs

Liverpool

Feb 16 - 3:00 PM

Mar 8 - 3:00 PM

8

PSG

vs

Real Madrid

Feb 15 - 3:00 PM

Mar 9 - 3:00 PM

Although there isn’t Manchester United vs PSG in this draw, there are still a lot of thrilling matches. PSG vs Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid vs Manchester United and Inter Milan vs Liverpool are all going to be great games. Real Madrid and Inter Milan have been in particularly great form so far this season!