UEFA probes Real Madrid ‘time-wasters’
UEFA announced yesterday it had started disciplinary proceedings against Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho and two of his players, Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos, over a ‘time-wasting’ controversy.
The pair are suspected of deliberately time-wasting to get sent off in the closing minutes of Tuesday’s 4-0 Champions League win at Ajax and so wipe their disciplinary slates clean for the knockout stages of the competition.
With Real assured of qualifying for the last 16 as Group G winners it meant Alonso and Ramos will now only miss out on the ‘dead’ tie against Auxerre in their final group game after picking up their second yellow cards of the group stages in Amsterdam.
Two yellow cards in the group stages of the competition equates to a sending off.
Had the pair – who had already been issued one yellow card – not been sent off against Ajax, a second yellow card in the game against Auxerre left them exposed to a suspension for the knockout stages.
As well as Mourinho and the red-carded duo, UEFA announced it was also targeting Real captain Iker Casillas and reserve goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek in their investigation.
Spanish sports daily Marca has published photographs of Dudek passing information to Casillas who then spoke to Ramos just before his sending off.
Mourinho was also shown on Dutch television speaking to Alonso just before his act of time wasting and also to Dudek.
A statement on European football’s governing body read: “UEFA has confirmed that a disciplinary case has been opened against Real Madrid for the improper conduct of coach José Mourinho and players Xabi Alonso, Sergio Ramos, Iker Casillas and Jerzy Dudek during the UEFA Champions League Group G match against AFC Ajax in Amsterdam on Tuesday.”
The hearing will take place next Tuesday.
As Wednesday’s game drew to a close midfielder Alonso spent around half a minute deliberating over a free-kick, prompting Scottish referee Craig Thomson to brandish a second yellow card.
Ramos was sent packing for a similar time wasting incident in injury time, shaking hands with the referee on his way to the changing rooms.
Ramos denied any wrongdoing, telling journalists after the match: “We didn’t go looking for the cards. Seeing what the score was, the referee could have saved them. But he sent me off and that’s that.”
Mourinho also brushed off accusations of skulduggery.
“I spoke with many players throughout the game, not only with Ramos and Alonso,” Mourinho said.
“Stories sell, but the important thing is the 4-0 win and the fantastic game we had. Let’s talk about that and not other things.”