Uefa uphold referee decisions
Fletcher, Abidal and Alves to miss Champions League final as Chelsea is left to sweat.
Last Modified: 11 May 2009 16:18 GMT

Referee Roberto Rosetti shows Darren Fletcher the red card ending his Champions League dreams [GALLO/GETTY]

European football's governing body Uefa has upheld the refereeing decisions that rule out Darren Fletcher of Manchester United, and Barcelona's Eric Abidal and Dani Alves from participating in the Champions League final.

The Uefa disciplinary committee rejected appeals from both clubs to let the suspended players take part in the final which takes place in Rome on May 27.

Uefa said in a statement that both clubs missed their deadline to appeal within 24 hours of their semi-finals matches played last week.

However, Uefa said even prompt appeals "would have been rejected as unfounded as there were no grounds for contesting the referees' original decisions.

"All three players are therefore suspended for one Uefa club competition match and will serve their suspensions ... in the Uefa Champions League final,'' the statement said.

No hope

Neither club expected success in their appeals because Uefa rules allow for field of play decisions to be overturned only in cases of mistaken identity.

Fletcher was sent off after tackling Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas in last Tuesday's semi-final second leg.

Fletcher connected with the ball first but his momentum brought down the Spaniard.

Abidal was sent off when Chelsea's Nicolas Anelka went down after a challenge last Wednesday, though TV replays suggested there was no contact.

Alves received a yellow card that activated a ban because of his past disciplinary record.

Alex Ferguson, the United manager, said last Friday that the club wrote Uefa a "compassionate letter'' on Fletcher's behalf.

"We understand the system and I honestly believe that the referee made the right decision at the time.

"I thought it was a penalty,'' Ferguson said.

Chelsea have been made to sweat it out [GALLO/GETTY]
Abidal's red card was one of several disputed decisions made by Norwegian referee Tom Henning Ovrebo, who angered Chelsea players after he turned down a series of penalty appeals.

Didier Drogba and Michael Ballack were among the Chelsea players who confronted the referee.

Defender Jose Boswinga later used the word "thief'' in referring to Ovrebo.

Uefa is currently considering what disciplinary action to take against Chelsea players and the club.

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