Aleksander Ceferin, the recently re-elected UEFA President, has branded some managers of Europe’s elite clubs as disrespectful after ten bosses were absent from a meeting on the introduction of video assistant referees for the remainder of this season’s Champions League campaign.
The fifty-one-year-old explained that the meeting should have been attended by the sixteen managers of teams remaining in the competition for this campaign, with the event taking place on Monday in Frankfurt, however just five made the journey.
Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp did not need to attend as the Premier League title challengers were playing against West Ham United that night, however other bosses decided simply to not show up.
Brian Kidd represented Manchester City at the meeting, while Tottenham and Manchester United sent staff that were not involved with coaching as Mauricio Pochettino, Pep Guardiola and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer failed to turn up.
The only managers who did show their faces were those of Lyon, Paris St-Germain, Roma, Juventus and Schalke, whereas other teams sent "assistants, other staff or even marketing people" according to Ceferin.
An angry Ceferin went on to say: "With VAR we prepared a meeting with all the coaches from Champions League teams in Frankfurt on Monday and only five came.
"For me it’s not only a lack of respect for Roberto Rosetti’s (Uefa’s chief refereeing officer), but the influence of coaches is huge and if they complain about being refereed they should at least come and see what the experts say about the use of VAR.
"Now they do not have any excuses, especially the ones that did not even come."
VAR will be used for the first time in the competition this season, with the video assistant referee coming into play for the Round of 16 games and remaining available right until the final of the competition at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid.
All four English teams progressed through to the knockout phase of the tournament after coming through their respective groups.
Both Liverpool and Tottenham left it until matchday six of the competition to seal their places in the next round, dumping out Serie A pair Napoli and Inter Milan respectively in doing so. Jurgen Klopp’s team face Bayern Munich in a titanic clash, while Spurs are up against Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund in their first knockout match.
As for the two Manchester clubs, both progressed out of the group stage with a game to spare, but have been handed contrasting draws. City will be expecting a straightforward route to the quarter-finals against Schalke, but United have been given the tough task of the Kylian Mbappe-led Paris Saint-Germain over two legs.