Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand will not face disciplinary action from Uefa for sarcastically applauding Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir at Old Trafford after the club’s Champions League defeat to Real Madrid on Tuesday night.
Uefa would not comment last night on whether the decision on Ferdinand had been based on the fact that the defender shook hands with officials, following his initial conduct – which revealed the depths of his frustration about the decision to dismiss Luis Nani.
There is inconsistency in the judgment. In 2005, Wayne Rooney was sent off after being shown a second yellow card when he sarcastically applauded referee Kim Milton Nielsen during a 1-1 draw against Spanish side Villarreal.
It appears that nothing in Cakir’s report suggested that the conduct of the United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, towards the officials – either on the touchline or in the tunnel – was considered worthy of disciplinary action, though Uefa would not confirm this.
Ferdinand confronted Cakir after his decision to send off Nani during the second leg of the last-16 tie. But a Uefa spokesman said: “From the report we have received from the referee we will not take any action apart from the disciplinary proceedings against Manchester United for the red card of Nani and for post-match media obligations not being fulfilled.”
Uefa’s disciplinary body will next assess whether Nani’s red card for a high challenge on Alvaro Arbeloa was worthy of punishment beyond an automatic one-match ban.
Ferguson refused to speak to any media following the match, which breaches the obligations set out in Uefa’s Champions League regulations.
When, this morning, he publicly discusses United’s FA Cup quarter-final against Chelsea on Sunday, he will be asked to address the issue of Wayne Rooney’s relegation to the substitutes’ bench for the Real game.
Ferguson is also likely to refer to the 2007 FA Cup Final against the west London side which United lost and which has always been a source of frustration to him.
“I felt we were very unlucky to lose the 2007 final,” he told the club’s in-house magazine Inside United recently.
“Didier Drogba scored in [almost] the last minute of extra-time after we had a very strong penalty shout turned down. I think Ryan Giggs may have forced the ball over the line as well for a goal that wasn’t given. That was tough to take, but that’s football – you win some, you lose some.”