Sir Alex Ferguson has escaped a touchline ban over his failure to fulfil his media obligations Uefa confirmed today, but the Manchester United manager has been ordered to pay a £8,500 fine instead.
The punishment comes after Ferguson’s reluctance to speak to the press after Manchester United’s exit from this year’s Champions League at the hands of Real Madrid. The long-time United boss was said to be too distraught to face them after a debatable decision to show Nani a red card turned the game in Madrid’s favour with United 1-0 up. Madrid went on to win 2-1 to progress to the quarter-finals 3-2 on aggregate.
Assistant manager, Mike Phelan, took the press conference on 5 March, where he stated: “I think it speaks volumes that I’m sitting here speaking to you and not the manager. We all witnessed a decision which seemed harsh, almost incredible, at that moment in the game.
“It’s a distraught dressing room and a distraught manager and that’s why I’m sitting here in front of you now.”
Uefa have also chosen not to increase the automatic one match ban that Nani will receive for future European competition, but that’s not enough of a consolation according to Robin Van Persie.
“That red card was heavily unjustified," said United’s top marksman."It was not even a yellow card or a free kick. Nani couldn’t do anything about it, he hardly touched Arbeloa.
"The worst thing is that Uefa supports him. That’s cowardly, because I really don’t understand it.”