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Round-up: Jol rues rule barring Ruiz

FULHAM manager Martin Jol has called for UEFA to change the rules which have seen record signing Bryan Ruiz cup-tied for Fulham's Europa League Group K opener tonight.

Ruiz will be unable to feature for the Cottagers in Europe until the new year after playing for this evening's opponents, FC Twente, in the Champions League qualifying rounds.

"I don't agree with that rule," he said. "If you have played for another team, there should be a rule not to involve them in the same competition. But this is another competition."

Asked if he could do anything to change it, Jol joked: "I can't. Maybe Alex (Ferguson)..."


Stoke's 'short straw'

STOKE boss Tony Pulis insists Stoke are relishing the challenge of the Europa League group stage -- despite their "horrendous" travel schedule.

The Potters -- who are taking part in major European competition for the first time in 37 years -- are in Ukraine for tonight's Group E opener against Dynamo Kiev and also face trips to Israel to play Maccabi Tel Aviv and Turkey to take on Besiktas.

"Someone asked me if I'm excited about being in Europe -- I don't think we are in Europe if you look at the teams we are playing!" Pulis said.

"We are in Ukraine, Israel and Turkey. We got the short straw and the travelling distances are horrendous but we are looking forward to it."

Viana's vindicated

BIRMINGHAM defender Steven Caldwell believes there are a number of reasons a player and friend he is charged with stopping tonight failed to make it in the English game.

The Blues face Braga at St Andrew's in the first game of their Group H campaign, with Hugo Viana one of the mainstays of their side. Caldwell, who played alongside Viana with Newcastle, said: "I felt he took a bit of time to get used to (Newcastle), that it didn't quite suit him as much as the Portuguese game."