Referee Roberto Rosetti stands by his decision to have dismissed Darren Fletcher in Manchester United's Champions League semi final against Arsenal, on the grounds that the Scotsman denied Cesc Fabregas a clear goalscoring opportunity.
Rosetti's verdict, delivered in his match report to Uefa, is a “factual decision” under Uefa's system and can therefore not be revoked. The same goes for Barcelona's Eric Abidal, whom Uefa sources indicate will not be granted a reprieve for the final against United, though his dismissal for an apparent infringement against Chelsea's Nicolas Anelka on Wednesday, also looked dubious.
United, who will meet with Uefa and Barcelona officials in Rome today to discuss security arranegements for the final, do not consider the chance meeting between Sir Alex Ferguson and Uefa general secretary David Taylor after Tuesday night's Champions League semi final to have any bearing on Darren Fletcher's chances of playing in the final.
The club's formal letter of appeal, sent on Wednesday, does not seek to get the card rescinded on compassionate grounds and United are resigned to Fletcher not having his red card rescinded.
"[United] have the possibility to protest and it's up to them to decide on the basis of the protest," said a UEFA spokesman.
"It will then go to our control and disciplinary body to look at and decide whether the protest is admissible and if it is, whether it is accepted or rejected.”
Under the United ballot system for tickets for the final, fans will not discover until May 15 whether they have been successful.