Soccer Union Lifts Ban on English Clubs

From Associated Press

England, isolated for five years because of its violence-prone fans, was brought back into the European soccer community today with the decision to allow its teams to again play in tournaments on the continent.

The Union of European Football Assns. imposed no explicit conditions on the return of English clubs, banned after the 1985 Heysel Stadium disaster in Brussels in which 39 people died.

But, Britain's Minister for Sport, Colin Moynihan, said English clubs agreed to several moves aimed at keeping fans from traveling, and the head of the English Football Assn. said the fans effectively remain on probation.

"We see today's decision as the dawning of a new era for English football and we deeply welcome it," Moynihan said.

UEFA's Executive Committee readmitted the clubs after the British government, satisfied with the behavior of English fans at the World Cup in Italy, dropped its opposition. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher personally supported the latest application.

Among thousands of English fans in Italy for the month-long tournament, 66 were arrested and 250 deported.

A UEFA statement announcing today's decision stressed "the responsibility of the clubs concerned to take all necessary measures in cooperation with their authorities to avoid incidents on the part of their supporters also at away matches."

English entries at Wednesday's first-round draw for European club tournaments are Manchester United in the Cup of Cup winners and Aston Villa in the UEFA Cup.

League champion Liverpool remains suspended for an additional three European Cup seasons under previous sanctions.

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