Are UEFA’s rules on red cards too harsh?

May 6, 2009

Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher will miss the Champions League final in Rome later this month after UEFA said there was no chance of overturning the red card he received against Arsenal on Tuesday.

Fletcher conceded a penalty in United’s 3-1 semi-final second leg win in London after he brought down Cesc Fabregas, but replays showed he touched the ball first.

UEFA spokesman Rob Faulkner said: “Manchester United have the right to protest the decision within 24 hours of the match. However the protest is only admissible if the referee made an error and mistakenly identified and cautioned or sent off the wrong player.

“There cannot be an appeal against a factual decision taken by the referee, and there is nothing to indicate that the referee made a mistake in identifying Fletcher as the player he penalised last night.”

Sending offs can be appealed in the Premier League, so why not in Europe? Can it be classed as a factual decision if someone thinks it was wrong?

On the other hand, goals can not be rescinded if they turn out to be offside on replays.

There’s a school of thought that players should not be banned for finals. If they do something really awful then ok, but otherwise it may be better to carry the ban over to the next season if it is really necessary.

If Fletcher did foul Fabregas, he hurt Arsenal, not Chelsea or Barcelona.

A final is the pinnacle of a player’s career and to rob him off playing on the greatest stage for something minor seems a shame to some.

Paul Scholes and Roy Keane missed out in 1999 while there have been many others, but it looks like UEFA will not budge.

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PHOTO: Darren Fletcher (L) of Manchester United is shown the red card by referee Roberto Rosetti as team mate Rio Ferdinand (C) reacts during their Champions League second leg semi-final soccer match against Arsenal at the Emirates stadium in London May 5, 2009. REUTERS

8 comments

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Manchester United or Darren Fletcher should take legal action against UEFA. They have the video evidence to prove he should not have been red carded. There is no legal or moral justification in UEFA making such a ruling. The referee should also stand up and be counted in this case.

Posted by T Carolan | Report as abusive

Yes.While we’re at it, they should reconsider using video reviews to make decisions.

Posted by Walter Mitty | Report as abusive

does anyone know of any other players who have missed champions league finals due to suspension other than Keane, Scholes, Baresi, Costacurta and Nedved?????

Posted by jermaine | Report as abusive

[...] Reuters Soccer Blog » Are UEFA’s rules on red cards too harsh? (tags: international championsleauge england regelkunde uefa manchesterunited) [...]

Rio looks distraight, but carricks thinking ‘thats one less midfielder that can take my place in rome’

Posted by johno | Report as abusive

Yes, he got his foot to the ball, but he had to rape the player in order to do it. That’s a clear red card.

Posted by Doug | Report as abusive

Not only are UEFA further over-complicating next year’s Champions League qualification, while bringing in a competition (Europa League) even more ludicrous than the UEFA Cup, they can’t even accept their guidelines need altering in special cases such as these.Barcelona should also try and appeal Abidal’s sending off as that was apparently just a tangle of legs. If they get nowhere then Barcelona and Man U should boycott the final, let’s see how UEFA like that.Referee’s mistakes, as we’ve unfortunately seen over the last two nights, happen all too often, but that is part of football. There is, however, no defence for UEFA, whose inflexible stance on most things simply has no place in the game.

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive

Could you imagine the politicking and probably terrorism that would be done if red cards could be reversed? Accept the rules because they are the rules and move on.It was a stupid, professional foul. His side up 3-0 15 minutes from time and he does that!? He got what he deserved.

Posted by Scott | Report as abusive

Natural justice would want to know just how much provocation a football team are expected to endure from an official that constantly refuses to award them penalties which would probably secure them a result. Rather than punish Chelsea I think UEFA have to answer why they appointed an official capable of such behaviour.

Posted by john | Report as abusive