United Face Punishment on Nani and Fergie Snub

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Byline: SIMON STONE sport@walesonline.co.uk

UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Manchester United over Nani's red card and the non-fulfilment of post-match media obligations at Tuesday night's Champions League match with Real Madrid, the European governing body has confirmed.

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson reacted angrily after Nani was sent off for a high challenge on Real's Alvaro Arbeloa in the 56th minute of the match, with United leading 1-0 at the time.

But, with the man advantage, Madrid came back to win 2-1 on the night, 3-2 on aggregate.

Ferguson did not appear for interviews after the match, with his assistant Mike Phelan attending the post-match press conference and saying the manager was too "distraught" to speak, while the players did not stop to talk in the mixed zone.

Uefa issued a short statement yesterday confirming disciplinary proceedings have been opened against the club regarding the two incidents.

"The case will be dealt with by the Uefa Control and Disciplinary Body on Thursday 21 March," the statement said.

Champions League rules oblige managers to speak to the media after every match.

Phelan had suggested he was likely to adopt a more diplomatic stance than his boss, who might have risked an even heavier sanction had he said in public what he thought in private. Yesterday's statement from Uefa made no mention of defender Rio Ferdinand, who sarcastically applauded Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir after the final whistle when the players surrounded the officials.

Uefa has already released a statement insisting it had no issues regarding Cakir's performance.

"There are no issues for us regarding the sending off," said a Uefa spokesman.

Ferguson is due to speak to the media tomorrow ahead of Manchester United's FA Cup quarter-final with Chelsea.

There has been an element of circling the wagons at Old Trafford, with former captain Roy Keane''s suggestion that Nani deserved his punishment for a high tackle on Alvaro Arbeloa coming in for stinging criticism.

Former United European Cup winner Paddy Crerand was particularly venomous, although others were equally incredulous.

"That decision was an absolute joke," former United defender Viv Anderson said.

"The players will feel as though they have been cheated by the referee."

Another ex-player, Lou Macari, said: "He was the same referee who sent John Terry off in the semi-final last season. …