Football: Wise escapes punishment by Uefa

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The Independent Online
DENNIS WISE was cleared yesterday by Uefa over his alleged bite on the Real Mallorca defender Elena Marcelino.

The Chelsea captain escaped punishment from European football's governing body after tangling with the centre-back in the first leg of the European Cup-Winners' Cup semi-final at Stamford Bridge on 8 April.

Wise could have been fined or banned, but Uefa said in a statement: "Although the player's unsporting gesture warrants clear disapproval, there is no legal basis in Uefa's disciplinary regulations for imposing a sanction."

Wise has been sent off four times since August and another suspension would have ruled him out of Thursday's tie, and possibly the final, were Chelsea to qualify. The first leg ended in a 1-1 draw.

Although Marcelino and Real Mallorca made no official complaint and the match officials and observers did not miss the incident, Uefa felt the episode was serious enough to hold a disciplinary hearing.

Its statement said: "Uefa's control and disciplinary body has decided to dismiss the case regarding a possible suspension for Dennis Wise.

"In accordance with current Uefa disciplinary regulations, sanctions can be imposed for incidents of misconduct not seen by the referee, only if such conduct corresponds to gross unsportsmanship. The incident must be so serious that failing to punish it would contradict general legal opinion."

After the match, Marcelino said: "He caught me with his hand and tried to provoke me and maybe get me sent off. I had to be very calm and quiet but someone has told me that he also tried to bite me. It is certainly not common, but I didn't feel anything."

The Roma forward Marco Delvecchio said yesterday that he had discussed the prospect of moving to Chelsea with the Stamford Bridge club's player- manager, Gianluca Vialli.

"Chelsea? It's true, it could be a likely destination for next season. A few days ago I talked about it with Vialli," Delvecchio declared. "The English idea is an adventure which attracts me - London is beautiful and they tell me Chelsea is a lovely area," he added.

Alex Ferguson has still not given up hope of Ryan Giggs declaring himself fit to face Juventus in tomorrow's Champions' League semi-final, second leg in Turin.

The Manchester United manager has had an anxious week since Giggs left Villa Park on crutches after scoring the much-celebrated goal against Arsenal last Wednesday which took his side through to the FA Cup final. Since then the Welshman has undergone intense treatment on his badly bruised ankle.

"He'll travel with us, and we are hoping we can have him training by tomorrow night," Ferguson said. "He's coming on, but it's going to be very close. We are certainly more hopeful about Ryan than we were after last Wednesday's game.

"He is improving a lot, and it's not the kind of injury where there has been any ligament or tendon damage. It is purely the ankle joint, so hopefully the inflammation and swelling will come down enough for him to play."

Giggs is United's only injury worry after goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel's recovery from a slight groin strain which forced him to miss Saturday's home win over Sheffield Wednesday.

United go into the game knowing Juventus have the advantage of an away goal following the 1-1 draw in the first leg at Old Trafford, but Ferguson says he does not expect the Italians to play for the goalless draw which would be enough to take them through.

"Knowing Juventus, they will try to finish the tie, particularly in the first half an hour, because that is normally what they try to do," he said. "The important thing for us is to remember that at present it's a draw and, if we can score over there, then it changes the whole thing."

Ferguson is not expected to name his side until shortly before kick-off tomorrow but it is expected that Dwight Yorke will return after being rested from starting the last two games. Teddy Sheringham, Andy Cole and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are all in contention to partner the Trinidad and Tobago international.