Uefa to discuss Fletcher red card

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Manchester United will find out on Monday whether their appeal over Darren Fletcher's red card issued in the Champions League semi-final has been successful.

Manchester United asked Uefa to overturn the controversial red card that will keep midfielder Fletcher out of the Champions League final but are not anticipating success, manager Alex Ferguson said today.

"Uefa has ... received a submission from Manchester United FC concerning the red card shown to the club's player Darren Fletcher in the Uefa Champions League semi-final second leg against Arsenal FC in London on Tuesday. The Uefa Control and Disciplinary Body will meet on Monday to deal with this case," read a Uefa statement issued today.

Fletcher was sent off for what looked a fair challenge on Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas late in Tuesday's semi-final second leg at the Emirates, which United won 3-1 to progress 4-1 on aggregate.

"We have written a compassionate letter to Uefa," Ferguson told a news conference. "We understand the system and honestly believe the referee made the right decision at the time. From his angle and from where I was, I thought it was a penalty myself.

"But we're not optimistic at all. We have to do it for Darren and in fairness to Darren. But, sometimes, in these situations when everything is addressed, you never know.

"He's quite a placid lad, he's not an emotional boy, he accepts it although it's disappointing for him, obviously. He takes great credit for the way he handled it all."

Uefa had said the only grounds for appeal were in a case of mistaken identity, which is not an issue with Fletcher.

However, British newspapers said United, encouraged by comments from the European governing body's general secretary David Taylor, had asked if Uefa believed referee Roberto Rosetti's decision was correct in the hope that it might be reviewed.

"I've spoken with Alex Ferguson personally on this - as fate would have it we shared a car after the match," Taylor told Thursday's Sun newspaper.

"Strictly speaking there is no appeal process but representation can be made.

"If the club want to write to us with information - such as video evidence - explaining why they think this is a harsh punishment then they can do that.

"The likelihood is we'd refer it to our disciplinary body. They would then look to see if there were any special circumstances to justify any departure from established procedures."

A Uefaspokesman was quoted by British newspapers today as saying: "The chances of an appeal being successful are quite slim because a protest is only admissible on the grounds of mistaken identity and that is not the case in this instance.

"The referee made it clear in his report that the red card was for denying a goalscoring opportunity. That was a factual decision by the referee and you cannot change factual decisions by the referee."

United will play Barcelona in the final in Rome on May 27, when the Spaniards will have two players suspended - Daniel Alves and Eric Abidal, who was sent off in Wednesday's 1-1 draw at Chelsea that sent them through on the away goals rule.

United will be without England defender Wes Brown for the rest of the season due to a foot problem. Brown has not played since January.

"He has had a little setback during the week and it's knocked him back," Ferguson told Friday's news conference. "The fact the season is coming towards the end makes it difficult for him but with Gary (Neville) back we're not bad."