In an unprecedented turn of events, UEFA was forced to redo the Champions League Round of 16 draw after errors surfaced in the original procedure. That forced the European governing body to void the results and order a redraw three hours later.
That first draw came up with eight matchups that included a Paris Saint-Germain vs. Manchester United matchup that would have seen Lionel Messi facing Cristiano Ronaldo. But that dream matchup was scratched due to errors that UEFA blamed on third-party software.
Teams from the same group and country are not permitted to face one another according to tournament rules, but the software apparently failed to adhere to them.
The first error was seen on live TV when Manchester United came up in the draw as Villarreal’s opponent. Except Man United shouldn’t have been in the pot to begin with since the Red Devils played in the same group with Villarreal. When Man United’s name was drawn, the officials realized the error and quickly pulled up another name: Manchester City.
But that mistake led to another. When it came time to selecting the Atletico Madrid opponent for the Round of 16, Manchester United was not one of the balls in the pot and the Red Devils were mistakenly excluded because they were “already drawn.” But that was originally done in error.
The issues led Atletico Madrid to ask UEFA for an explanation “and a solution after the errors committed in the draw for the Champions League Round of 16.” The announcement of the re-draw came minutes later.
One report claimed that Villarreal were also petitioning to have the draw redone.
The teams contacting UEFA about the draw reportedly also included Real Madrid, which wanted its draw result against Benfica to stand. Los Merengues clearly liked their original draw, and now have to settle for a much tougher matchup against PSG.
“I apologize that we have had to gather again,” said UEFA Deputy General Secretary Giorgio Marchettin before the second draw took place. “There were issues caused by a malfunction that is run through an outside provider.