UEFA show no mercy to Fletcher

NYON: UEFA on Wednesday ruled out a reprieve for Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher over the red card that means he will be suspended for the Champions League final.

Fletcher was sent off in United's 3-1 win over Arsenal on Tuesday for a challenge on Cesc Fabregas inside the penalty box. Television replays showed that the United player had played the ball before Fabregas tumbled over him.

But even if referee Roberto Rosetti accepts he made a mistake, UEFA's rules allow for red cards to be rescinded only if the official acknowledges that he punished the wrong player, a spokesman for European football's governing body confirmed.

"A club can file a protest against a caution or a sending off but under our rules it is only admissible if there is a case of mistaken identity by the referee," he said.

Although Scotland international Fletcher is not an automatic first-choice player for United, he has been a regular this season in the club's biggest matches and would almost certainly have featured in the final in Rome.

Fletcher was bitterly disappointed to be an unused substitute during last season's final win over Chelsea in Moscow and United boss Ferguson admitted he felt for his compatriot.

"Darren is disappointed and he should be disappointed," Ferguson said. "He's one of the most honest players in the game and to miss the final, it's a tragedy. He was distraught." Fletcher was consoled after the match by Paul Scholes, who, along with Roy Keane, missed United's victory over Bayern Munich in the 1999 final because of suspension.