Russia icon Arshavin blamed after Champions League draw fiasco

UEFA has been forced to order a re-run of the draw for this season’s Champions League last 16 after a botched ceremony in Switzerland – and some fans pointed the finger at Russian legend Andrey Arshavin.

Monday’s draw at UEFA HQ in Nyon appeared to throw up some intriguing ties – not least Manchester United and Cristiano Ronaldo being paired with Lionel Messi’s PSG.

But the dust had yet to settle before fans and pundits were crying foul across social media about an apparent error in the draw procedure.

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The UEFA Champions League draw caused controversy. © Twitter
UEFA to repeat Champions League draw after shocking error (VIDEO)

The mistake centered on Manchester United, who were initially placed with Villarreal.

However, as the two teams met in the group stage, they were not eligible to face each other in the last 16.

Manchester City were then drawn to play Villarreal instead, with Atletico Madrid next popping up.

The problem, though, was that Manchester United had not been returned to the pot of eligible teams to play Atletico, when in reality they should have been. 

Instead, United ended up appearing in the last tie of the draw against French giants PSG.

Explaining the error, UEFA laid the blame at the door of an external software provider while announcing a re-run for later on Monday.

“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,” said the governing body.

However, that didn’t stop some fans and pundits poking fun at former Russian international Arshavin, who had been on hand to help conduct proceedings.

Some accused the former Arsenal and Zenit star of being at fault, even though he was one of several figures involved.

Arshavin, 40, was at the draw as a representative of St. Petersburg, where this season’s final will be held.

“People love football [in St. Petersburg], it’s a big event for our city, everyone dreams of holding such a big event,” Arshavin had said of his hometown, which hosts the final at the Gazprom Arena on May 28. 

Arshavin also revealed that his fondest Champions League memory as player had been scoring a late winner for Arsenal in their 2011 last-16 first-leg win over Barcelona.

Even after his retirement, Arshavin continues to make new memories for the tournament – albeit in ways not previously imagined.  

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