UEFA are left embarrassed after former Bayern Munich defender Thomas Helmer labelled the Europa League the ‘Cup of Losers’ during the draw for the quarter- and semi-finals.
On Friday morning, UEFA’s Pedro Pinto was in charge of navigating the ceremonies for the Champions League and Europa League, which were run with social distancing measures.
Helmer was one of a select few present at UEFA’s HQ in Nyon and after the Champions League draw was littered with technical problems, it was a comment heard loud and clear from Helmer that had UEFA blushing afterwards.
‘Do you know what he calls it, no? Helmer asked Pinto, pointing to his UEFA colleague Giorgio Marchetti. ‘The cup of losers…’
Social distancing rules meant club delegates, who are usually in the room at UEFA’s Nyon HQ, were following on a video stream and yet, despite a wealth of resources, the video interviews were hamstrung by sound problems – particularly in Madrid.
The draws are typically drawn out with montages of goals scored so far, conversations with former players and former winners, and a run-through of the technicalities behind the draw to name three things.
But as Pinto continued building up to the main event, he found himself battling against sound problems that made a number of interviews unwatchable.
In trying to speak to Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke, Pinto addressed him in Spanish but got no sound in return, despite the stream showing Koke talking into his microphone in the Spanish capital.
The decision was made not to let that run for too long and so Pinto switched across the city to speak to former Real Madrid striker Emilio Butragueno.
Again, the video worked fine but the sound was once again nowhere to be found apart from the occasional jolt of noise.
Back-to-back interviews had to be axed and apologies were made for the ‘technical difficulties’ that dominated the pre-draw ceremony.
With so many eyes tuned into the draw, desperate to see how the route to the final would look, the technical problems did not go unnoticed.
One irate user wrote on Twitter: ‘The Champions League draw has been and absolute farce.
‘They’re dragging it out massively and none of the audio is working.
‘Just get on with the draw.’