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UEFA farce in Champions League last-16 draw, plus Europa League Europa Conference League draws – as it all happened!

Initial Champions League last-16 draw declared void after on-air error – this is how it all unravelled

Champions League
(Image: © Getty)

It's a big ol' day in the football season today – we've got the Champions League last-16 draw, the Europa League play-off draw and, wait for it, the Europa Conference League play-off draw back-to-back!

We'll be guiding you through the whole journey, explaining what's what, and revealing why you should be so ruddy excited about it all.

Here's your rough guide for the day:

11am GMT: The Champions League last-16 draw, including English teams Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and current holders Chelsea, plus a couple of other sides you might have of, such as Real Madrid and Juventus.

12pm GMT: The Europa League play-off draw. This is slightly modified on previous seasons, featuring teams who finished second in the Europa League groups, plus third in the Champions League groups – but not Europa League group winners such as West Ham. You will see Rangers though, who could face the likes of Barcelona or Borussia Dortmund.

1pm GMT: The Europa Conference League play-off draw. If you don't know what it is, don't worry! Neither does Brendan Rodgers, and Leicester are in it. Also, we'll explain all before the draw happens. You'll want to keep an eye out for Leicester, Celtic and Tottenham (who are technically in the draw, but may be knocked out before the fixtures take place – don't worry, we'll explain that too).

Looking to watch the Champions League draw with your own beady eyes? We've got you covered here. Working from home has its perks.

These are the teams going into the Champions League last-16 draw:

Group winners (seeded)

Ajax (NED)

Bayern (GER)

Juventus (ITA)

Liverpool (ENG)

Lille (FRA)

Manchester City (ENG)

Manchester United (ENG)

Real Madrid (ESP)

Group runners-up (unseeded)

Atletico Madrid (ESP)

Benfica (POR)

Chelsea (ENG)

Inter (ITA)

Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)

Salzburg (AUT)

Sporting CP (POR)

Villarreal (ESP)

A pretty simple format here: seeded sides are drawn against non-seeded sides, and no two sides from the same country can be drawn against each other – so no chance of seeing Chelsea go up against Liverpool, Manchester City or Manchester United, for instance.

Manchester City are the current bookies' favourites for the Champions League this season, with Betfair offering 3/1 for them to finally lift Europe's elite trophy (opens in new tab), having failed at the final hurdle last year.

Here's a quick rundown of the favourites – or see our full story on Champions League winners odds here.

Man City - 3/1
Bayern Munich - 4/1
Liverpool - 5/1
PSG - 13/2
Chelsea - 9/1
Man United - 14/1
Real Madrid - 14/1
Ajax - 14/1
Juventus - 25/1
Atletico Madrid - 33/1

All odds are via Betfair, and you get up to £100 in free bets if you sign up today. (opens in new tab)

New customer offer. Place 5 x £10 or more bets to receive £20 in free bets. Repeat up to 5 times to receive maximum £100 bonus. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Exchange bets excluded. Payment restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. 18+

The first knockout round regularly throws up brilliant ties, by the way.

Last season saw Porto beat Juventus on away goals, after a 4-4 aggregate score.

Two years ago we had Man City knocking out Real Madrid, and Atletico beating Liverpool at this stage. 

The year before that had loads of excitement: Manchester United’s last-gasp winner over PSG that secured Solskjaer the manager’s job, Spurs’ 4-0 aggregate demolition of Dortmund en route to the final, Ajax tearing apart Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, Liverpool knocking out Bayern, and Man City racking up 10 goals against Schalke over two legs.

The first legs will be played on February 15, 16, 22 and 23 ,and the second legs will be played on March 8, 9, 15 and 16 2022. In the UK, all will be broadcast live on BT Sport (opens in new tab).

Adidas and UEFA have released a new Champions League ball for the knockout stages this morning – and it's a good looking thing. It'll be released on the Adidas shop (opens in new tab) soon.

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And we're off! UEFA deputy general secretary Giorgio Marchetti is currently talking us through statistics and facts from the group stage. That's our job, Giorgio.

You can watch the draw here.

Next year's final is in Saint Peterburg, Russia – so we've got former Arsenal attacker and native Saint Peterburgian Andrey Arshavin to help pick the balls.

Arshavin says his fondest Champions League memory is when Arsenal beat "the strongest Barcelona team at the Emirates, and I scored the goal".

Yeah, fair enough.

The unseeded teams will play the first leg at home, if you're wondering.

First unseeded team drawn is... Benfica!

Playing Benfica is... Real Madrid. Ancelotti happy with that one, you'd think.

Villarreal drawn next.

Manchester United picked out but they were in the same group, so it's drawn again.

And Manchester City is picked out!

Manchester City vs Villarreal is the second game.

Atletico Madrid picked out for the third game.

Atletico Madrid vs Bayern Munich in the third game.

Fourth unseeded side picked out is Salzburg.

Salzburg vs Liverpool. That's surely one of the best draws Reds could have hoped for.

Inter Milan the next unseeded side drawn

Inter Milan vs... Ajax! That could be a very fun couple of games.

Sporting Lisbon now drawn out. Man United or Juventus for them.

Sporting vs Juventus the next tie.

Chelsea now drawn out – they'll get Lille, as they can't be drawn against Man United,

Chelsea vs Lille now confirmed.

PSG vs Man United is the final one. Oof! Poch vs Ralf.

Champions League last-16 fixtures confirmed

Benfica vs Real Madrid

Villarreal vs Manchester City

Atletico Madrid vs Bayern Munich

Salzburg vs Liverpool

Inter Milan vs Ajax

Sporting vs Juventus

Chelsea vs Lille

PSG vs Manchester United

The first legs will be played on February 15, 16, 22 and 23, and the second legs will be played on March 8, 9, 15 and 16, 2022. In the UK, all will be broadcast live on BT Sport (opens in new tab).

That's all from the Champions League draw – next up is the Europa League play-off draw at 12pm GMT, but we'll have some reflections on what we've just seen before that.

PSG vs Manchester United will surely be the tie that catches everyone's eye for this round, with Mauricio Pochettino being regularly linked with moving to the job at Old Trafford in the summer.

That will add a bit of spice to the fixture: he seems unhappy in Paris, and his team has not been performing as the fans might expect from a side featuring Messi, Mbappe and Neymar. But would knocking United out of the Champions League improve his chances of landing the job or not.

Chelsea vs Lille might look like a favourable draw for Thomas Tuchel's team, but Lille did win Ligue 1 last season...

Thought it's also worth pointing out they have fallen off the pace this season, and are currently 11th.

Manchester City have been drawn against Villarreal, last season Europa League winners managed by former Arsenal boss Unai Emery.

As rivals United would attest, as the beaten Europa League finalists, Villarreal should not be taken lightly – though, like Lille, they are struggling in the domestic league this season, and are currently 13th.

You shouldn't bet against a City win here.

Liverpool fans will probably be the happiest of the English clubs with their draw. Salzburg finished second to Lille in their underwhelming group, and are the first Austrian side to reach the knockout stages. It would be a hell of an upset if Jurgen Klopp's side don't make the quarters.

Here's the fixtures again, but in a lovely graphic.

Champions League last-16 fixtures

Champions League last-16 fixtures

(Image credit: Future)

We're now just 10 minutes away from the Europa League play-off draw! It starts at 12pm GMT, and you can find out how to watch it live here.

Europa League play-off teams

Seeded teams

Betis (ESP)

Braga (POR)

Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)

Lazio (ITA)

Napoli (ITA)

Olympiacos (GRE)

Rangers (SCO)

Real Sociedad (ESP)

Unseeded teams

Atalanta (ITA)

Barcelona (ESP)

Dortmund (GER)

Leipzig (GER)

Porto (POR)

Sevilla (ESP)

Sheriff (MDA)

Zenit (RUS)

What’s the Europa League play-off format?

This is the play-off round of 16 teams to determine who goes into the actual Europa League round of 16 – got it?

The seeded teams are those that finished second in the eight Europa League groups, while the unseeded teams are those that finished third in the eight Champions League groups. 

Those that finished top of their Europa League group, like West Ham, are not in the play-offs and go straight through to the round of 16.

If you’ve noticed this is a bit different from previous years, then well done! You’ve been paying attention to UEFA’s secondary competition in recent years, which usually goes into a round of 32 at this stage. But with the introduction of much-celebrated [subs please check] Europa Conference League, which has reduced the number of Europa League groups, we have this new format this season. 

No two teams from the same country can be drawn against each other in this round, so we won’t be getting Real Betis or Real Sociedad against Barcelona or Sevilla, Braga against Porto, or Lazio/Napoli against Atalanta.

Back on the Champions League draw for a moment – did Manchester United get excluded from being drawn against Atletico Madrid by mistake? It certainly looks like it. They then got one of the toughest draws of the round...

The full story on the potential Champions League draw mistake is here.

The Europa League final this year is in Seville – so will we get a Sevilla legend for the draw?

Spanish sides Barcelona and Sevilla are joint favourites to lift the trophy this year, having both dropped into the competition after finishing third in their respective Champions League groups.

Betfair has them both at 6/1 (opens in new tab), and here's the other Europa League betting odds:

Barcelona - 6/1
Sevilla - 6/1
Borussia Dortmund - 7/1
Napoli - 7/1
West Ham - 11-1
RB Leipzig - 11/1
Atalanta - 11/1

All odds are via Betfair, and you get up to £100 in free bets if you sign up today. (opens in new tab)

New customer offer. Place 5 x £10 or more bets to receive £20 in free bets. Repeat up to 5 times to receive maximum £100 bonus. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Exchange bets excluded. Payment restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. 18+

The Sevilla legend helping pick the balls out of the pot is former goalkeeper Andrés Palop, who made over 200 appearances for Sevilla and speaks Spanish at a truly frightening rate for translators.

We're ready to begin the draw!

The first leg fixtures will be played on February 17, with the second legs a week later on February 24.

Unseeded clubs are drawn first – they will play first legs at home.

Sevilla are drawn first! Wonder what Andres will make of their draw...

First confirmed game: Sevilla vs Dinamo Zagreb

Atalanta the next unseeded team drawn.

Second confirmed game: Atalanta vs Olympiacos

Next unseeded team... RB Leipzig.

Third confirmed game: RB Leipzig vs Real Sociedad

Barcelona drawn next!

Fourth confirmed game: Barcelona vs Napoli

The Maradona derby! That will be a great couple of fixtures.

Zenit St Petersburg now drawn.

Fifth confirmed: Zenit Saint Petersburg vs Real Betis

Borussia Dortmund out the pot now...

Sixth confirmed game: Borussia Dortmund vs Rangers

The atmosphere at those games will be amazing. Great draw.

Seventh confirmed game: Sheriff vs Braga

Eighth confirmed game: Porto vs Lazio

And that's it for the Europa League draw! Here's those fixtures in full:

Europa League knockout play-off fixtures

Europa League

(Image credit: Future)

Rangers were the only British team in that draw, with West Ham receiving a bye into the next round as group winners – but what a fixture the Scottish champions have been thrown up.

They will play Borussia Dortmund, with the first leg at the Westfalenstadion on February 17, before playing at Ibrox on February 24.

Two iconic stadiums renowned for their atmosphere – a really great tie for the neutrals. Hopefully Rangers fans aren't too put out they missed a chance to go to Sheriff Tiraspol in Moldova...

Barcelona vs Napoli is the other standout tie from the draw – famous teams with proud attacking identities, and one of them won't be making the last 16...

As an aside, here's what Barça looked like the last time they got knocked out of the Champions League and into the then-UEFA Cup.

Yes that's Pep Guardiola and Pepe Reina. Yes, they have hair.

A post shared by FourFourTwo (@fourfourtwouk) (opens in new tab)

A photo posted by on

Europa Conference League knockout play-off draw up next. Get excited, Leicester fans. Be confused, Spurs fans.

Actually, Leicester fans, you can be confused, too.

This Man United Champions League draw mistake brouhaha (we need a catchier name, incidentally. Does Ballgate work for everyone?) is rumbling on.

According to respected Spanish journalist Guillem Balague, Villarreal want the draw re-done, though if it is, Real Madrid want it to re-start after their fixture...

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We're all just looking for the silliest and most exciting fairest conclusion, here.

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Back to the Europa Conference League draw though, if we must.

Here are the teams they'll be pairing up today:

Europa Conference League play-off knockout teams


Bodø/Glimt (NOR)

Maccabi Tel-Aviv (ISR)


Partizan (SRB)

Qarabağ (AZE)

Randers (DEN)

Slavia Praha (CZE)

Tottenham (ENG) / Vitesse (NED)


Celtic (SCO)

Fenerbahçe (TUR)

Leicester City (ENG)

Marseille (FRA)

Midtjylland (DEN)

PSV Eindhoven (NED)

Rapid Wien (AUT)

Sparta Praha (CZE)

BREAKING: Champions League draw declared void

Big Ballgate news! (That is catching on, right?)

UEFA will redraw the whole Champions League last-16 draw after the hiccough with the Manchester United balls earlier today.

The draw will happen at 2pm, and you can follow it all here.

First, though, we've got the Europa Conference League draw, which is starting now – you can watch it here.

Like the Europa League play-offs, eight teams who finished second in their Europa Conference League groups who go up against the eight teams who finished third in their Europa League groups.

Teams from the same country can't be drawn against one another, so Randers can't play Midtjylland, for instance, as both are from Denmark. But you knew that.

Tottenham will be in the draw, but may not play in this round. They currently stand third in their Europa Conference League group behind Vitesse, but their final game against group winers Rennes was postponed after Spurs suffered a COVID-19 outreak.

The match has been cancelled with Spurs needing a win to qualify, and a decision hasn't yet been made on what the official result of the game is.

They will be drawn as Tottenham/Vitesse for now, but who knows what UEFA will decide?

The Europa Conference League final will be held in Tirana, Albania, so they've got Lorik Cana in to help pick the balls out of the pots.

Lorik Cana, if you're wondering, (Albanian pronunciation: [ˈlɔɾik ˈtsana]; born 27 July 1983) is an Albanian former professional footballer, who played for PSG, Sunderland, Galatasaray and Lazio, and FourFourTwo has not just Googled him, thank you very much.

These games will be played across two legs, on February 17 and February 24. 

We're about to start.

Unseeded teams are picked first – that group has Leicester and Celtic in.

Marseille the first team drawn. They can be drawn against anyone.

First confirmed fixture: Marseille vs Qarabag

Now PSV Eindhoven have been picked.

Second confirmed fixtures: PSV Eindhoven vs Maccabi Tel Aviv

Turkey's Fenerbahce now drawn out.

Third confirmed fixture: Fenerbahce vs Slavia Prague

Midtjylland next out the pot. Can't be drawn against Randers, as we've covered.

Fourth confirmed fixture: Midtjylland vs PAOK

Leicester now out the pot! Here we go...

Fifth confirmed fixture: Leicester vs Randers

Celtic have been drawn now...

Sixth confirmed fixture: Celtic vs Bodo/Glimt

Technical issue at UEFA, so a bit of a wait for the seventh fixture. Hopefully no redraw needed...

Seventh confirmed fixture: Sparta Praha vs FK Partizan

Eighth confirmed fixture: Rapid Wien vs Tottenham or Vitesse

Celtic have Bodo/Glimt in the play-off round – a Norwegian team not many had heard of until they battered Jose Mourinho's Roma 6-1 in the Europa League group stage.

Leicester will take on Randers, from Denmark, who have twice been managed by Colin Todd, bizarrely.

Here's the Europa Conference League knockout play-off fixtures in full. The first legs will be played on February 17 and the return legs on February 24.

Europa Conference League knockout play-off fixtures

Europa Conference League

(Image credit: Future)

Now we're back to the Champions League draw for the second time today, after the inital draw was declared void by UEFA. The new draw will take place at 2pm GMT – just under half an hour from now.

Confused? Let us explain...

So, what's this Champions League ball fiasco – or Ballgate, as readers of this liveblog have come to know it – all about?

Why is the Champions League knockout draw happening again?

The one-line explanation is that Manchester United were mistakenly excluded from part of the draw, meaning that there was no way they could be drawn against Atletico Madrid.

They were then drawn against Paris Saint-Germain, which is widely seen as a tougher fixture.

At which point Manchester United went: "Er, hang on, this ain't right."*

*Not a real quote, sadly.

So what happened?

This is FourFourTwo's understanding of the process:

For each potential fixture a can team be drawn into, they receive a ball, which unscrews and reveals a piece of paper with their name on it. These are all kept in separate pots, clearly labelled with that teams name. When a fixture is being drawn, one ball from each eligible team is put into a new pot. After that fixture is drawn, the excess balls from that new pot are thrown away.

It's done like this because teams from the same country, or were in a group together, cannot be drawn against each other at this stage.

Chelsea, for instance, finished second in their group so are 'unseeded'. But the 'seeded' teams include Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United (all English) and Juventus (who were in the same group), so they can only be drawn against Lille, Ajax, Bayern Munich or Real Madrid. Therefore, they only have four balls in the 'Chelsea' pot at the beginning.

When Villarreal were pulled out of the unseeded pot, no Manchester United ball should have been placed in the new pot to be drawn as their opponents, as they were in the group together. When they were, it seems to have created a Manchester United ball shortage, and they were missed out from the next draw, against Atletico Madrid, for which they would have been eligible.

The computer for the draw picked up on this, wrongly showing on the screen that United were ineligible and that Liverpool were eligible when they shouldn't be. This an be seen on the left of this image, taken from the UEFA broadcast earlier today:

Champions League

(Image credit: UEFA)

This suggests that the mistake for putting Manchester United in the pot may have been a computer error to start with – that's certainly UEFA's suggestion:

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While the draws for the other fixtures appear to have been correct, this would mean both the Villarreal and Atletico Madrid draws were wrong, voiding the process.

We now have a bit of delay before the start of the Champions League redraw. We're expecting it to start any minute now...

A reminder of the teams going into this draw:

Champions League last-16 teams

Confirmed group winners (seeded)

Ajax (NED)

Bayern (GER)

Juventus (ITA)

Liverpool (ENG)

Lille (FRA)

Manchester City (ENG)

Manchester United (ENG)

Real Madrid (ESP)

Confirmed group runners-up (unseeded)

Atletico Madrid (ESP)

Benfica (POR)

Chelsea (ENG)

Inter (ITA)

Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)

Salzburg (AUT)

Sporting CP (POR)

Villarreal (ESP)

A re-cap of the rules, too (for your benefit, UEFA, if you're watching):

A pretty simple format here: seeded sides are drawn against non-seeded sides, and no two sides from the same country can be drawn against each other – so no chance of seeing Chelsea go up against Liverpool, Manchester City or Manchester United, for instance. And no two teams from the same group can be drawn against that, so Manchester United vs Villarreal couldn't happen, for example. 

Stop snickering at the back.

UEFA restate their belief it was a software issue, and say everything will be double-checked before teams are drawn.

Unseeded teams drawn first. This time it's Salzburg.

First confirmed fixture: Salzburg vs Bayern Munich

Next up is Sporting. They had Juventus last time.

Second confirmed fixture: Sporting vs Manchester City

Easier draw for City than Atletico...

Third confirmed fixture: Benfica vs Ajax

Chelsea now out of the pot!

Fourth confirmed fixture: Chelsea vs Lille

Fifth confirmed fixture: Atletico Madrid vs Manchester United


Sixth confirmed fixture: Villarreal vs Juventus

Seventh confirmed fixture: Inter Milan vs Liverpool

Another trip to the San Siro for Liverpool...

Eighth confirmed fixture: PSG vs Real Madrid

Real Madrid – who wanted the redraw to be done with their initial fixture Benfica still standing – will surely take that well...

Here's the Champions League last-16 fixtures:

Salzburg vs Bayern Munich

Sporting vs Manchester City

Benfica vs Ajax

Chelsea vs Lille

Atletico Madrid vs Manchester United

Villarreal vs Juventus

Inter Milan vs Liverpool

Paris Saint-Germain vs Real Madrid

Posting this again, because we're very proud of it.

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Some people have noticed that during the draw it was said that Villarreal couldn't be drawn against Liverpool – this wasn't actually a mistake, it's because that would have left Inter Milan up against either Juventus (same country) or Real Madrid (same group).

Winners and losers from the redraw?

Losers: Real Madrid won't be happy. They've gone from facing Benfica to playing PSG. Sporting probably would have preferred their first opponents Juventus to Manchester City, too.

Winners: Manchester United switching from PSG to Atletico Madrid is surely an improvement, and Villarreal going from Manchester City to Juventus isn't terrible, either.

Here we are again then: the Champions League last-16 fixtures, which will be played on February 15, 16, 22 and 23, with the second legs happening on March 8, 9, 15 and 16 2022.

Champions League

(Image credit: Future)

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