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In a cooperative multi-cell network the uplink signal coming from each mobile terminal (MT) is simultaneously demodulated by multiple base stations (BSs). Both backhaul capacity and BS processing capabilities limit the number of demodulating BSs. In order to fit the information exchange among BSs to backhaul resources we minimize the average number of demodulating BSs, under a constraint on the average outage probability. The BS selection problem becomes more complicated when error control configurations as automatic repeat request (ARQ) and hybrid ARQ (HARQ) with chase combining or incremental redundancy are considered. Multi-cell processing is implemented both by decoding the packet at each BS and by a joint decoding among BSs. We first derive the outage probability as a function of the number of cooperating BSs and the error control strategy. A heuristic approach for BS selection is then developed, to find at each frame which BSs perform demodulation and share the information in the backhaul. Lastly, we show that backhaul usage can be reduced up to 64% with respect to an unoptimized solution.