Ferdinand escapes sanction over referee hand-clap
United skipper in the clear but Alex Ferguson and Nani are still in the dock after red card fiasco
RIO FERDINAND will escape Uefa punishment for his reaction to Manchester United's Champions League defeat at the hands of Real Madrid on Tuesday, although his manager Alex Ferguson and winger Nani, who was given a controversial red card, are still facing disciplinary proceedings.
As soon as the final whistle went at Old Trafford, Ferdinand, the United captain, ran up to Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir and began sarcastically clapping his hands inches away from the official's face. He later made a show of theatrically shaking his hand.
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United were livid that Nani was shown a straight red card for a high tackle on Real Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa. United were 1-0 up when Nani was given his marching orders in the 56th minute, but ended up losing 2-1 on the night and 3-2 on aggregate.
After the game, Manchester United boss Ferguson was so "distraught" that he felt unable to face the media, and his players also refused to talk to the press as they passed through the 'mixed zone'. But Uefa rules state that managers must attend the post-match press conference and players must fulfill interview requests.
Cakir has now filed his report on the match and chose not to mention the reaction of Ferdinand. In a statement today, Uefa said: "From the report we have received from the referee we will not take any action apart from the disciplinary proceedings against Manchester United for the red card of Nani and for post-match media obligations not being fulfilled."
Ferdinand can consider himself somewhat lucky. "In 2005, Wayne Rooney was sent off after being shown a second yellow card when he sarcastically applauded referee Kim Milton Nielsen during a 1-1 draw against Spanish side Villarreal in the Champions League," notes the Daily Telegraph.
In 2009, after Chelsea lost to Barcelona, Didier Drogba's spectacular rant at the referee and TV cameras earned him a four-game ban.
It remains to be seen what sanction Fergie will face for shunning the media, but United are likely to think that they would have faced a worse punishment had he told the world what he really thought. ·