Are UEFA’s rules on red cards too harsh?
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On the other hand, goals can not be rescinded if they turn out to be offside on replays.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.
For blogs on sports other than soccer, please click on http://blogs.reuters.com/sport
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