Red Card ruling

UEFA to decide on Fletcher's fate on Monday

May 8, 2009

Manchester United will find out on Monday whether their appeal against the red card issued to Darren Fletcher in the Champions League semi-final second leg against Arsenal has been successful.

Fletcher was sent off during the semi-final win over the Gunners after sending Cesc Fabregas flying inside the penalty area.

Although there is no appeals process, United wrote to UEFA yesterday, pleading Fletcher's case on compassionate grounds with the suspension set to rule the Scot out of the final against Barcelona on May 27.

"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.

Sir Alex Ferguson does not expect United to be successful in their attempt to get Fletcher's ban overturned, however.

Ferguson admitted he thought Italian referee Roberto Rosetti had got the decision spot on, only to then see a replay that proved Fletcher had flicked the ball away from Arsenal's captain before flattening him.

"I am not optimistic at all," said Ferguson. "We have to do it for Darren and sometimes in these situations, you never know.

"But I don't think it will be overturned. The referee made an honest decision."

The calm way Fletcher dealt with the decision, which is only made worse by the fact he was an unused substitute in last season's penalty shoot-out win over Chelsea, contrasted sharply with the scenes witnessed at Stamford Bridge 24 hours later, for which Didier Drogba has apologised.

"Darren is quite a placid lad," said Ferguson. "He is not an over-emotional boy. He just accepts it. He takes great credit for the way he handled it.

"I honestly believed the referee made the right decision at the time. From his angle - and from mine - it looked like a penalty.

"It was only when I saw the replay that I saw that Darren had managed to get his leg round Fabregas and flick the ball away.

"Darren is an honest player, so honest if he had been an old stager he would probably have let him go on and score.

"But he was still determined to try and do his job and prevent a goal. In the process he gave away a penalty."

Had it been a domestic contest, the FA would have looked at the incident again on video.

UEFA competitions offer no such redemption, with the United boss believing it is a flaw that needs looking at.

"It seems to be a weakness in UEFA that part," he said.