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Saturday, February 24, 2007

UEFA throw out protest and charge Lille.

UEFA disciplinary chiefs have thrown out a complaint by Lille about the validity of Manchester United's winning goal and have charged the French club's players with improper conduct. Lille players threatened to walk off the pitch after Ryan Giggs scored from a quickly-taken free-kick in their Champions League match in Lens on Tuesday.

The French club had claimed the referee should have blown his whistle beforehand, and asked for the game to be replayed. UEFA said in a statement: 'Having examined the official referee's report, the television evidence at hand as well as the laws of the game, the UEFA control and disciplinary body decided to reject the protest, as there was no proof of a technical error.

As a result, the body declared that the goal was perfectly valid. 'Furthermore, the control and disciplinary body decided to instigate proceedings against Lille for the improper behaviour of their players immediately after the goal. ' Lille have the right of appeal and the charge is likely to be dealt with by the same disciplinary hearing that will handle possible breaches of security and safety regulations by the club and allegations of improper conduct by both Lille and United supporters. United believe a tragedy was only narrowly averted after supporters became crushed into a section of the Stade Felix-Bollaert in Lens.

Lille have pointed the finger at United, claiming their early distribution of tickets allowed high-quality fakes to be produced, while Damien Vanoise, the head of security at the stadium, has accused United fans of sparking the problems by 'violent behaviour'. United will answer the allegations in a report to UEFA but are furious Lille are trying to blame them for their own shortcomings. It is understood United will tell the UEFA the poor quality of the tickets provided by the French club allowed forgeries to be made easily, and will provide a dossier of evidence from fans about the incidents in the stadium.