Goodness me, what a catalogue of incidents to report both during and after the big match on Saturday. There was the usual ‘controversial’ refereeing decisions made, including the award of a penalty to Chelsea for an apparent ‘ball-to-hand’, the non-award of a penalty at the other end of the pitch after Michael Ballack got up close and personal with Cristiano Ronaldo and then a spot of handbags between Obi and Ferdinand at the close of the game.
The BBC report that the fun didn’t end there, with the likes of Patrice Evra and Gary Neville getting involved with the Chelsea groundstaff (!) after the match and Rio Ferdinand accidentally kicking a female steward. Not to mention Sir Alex Ferguson fuming at the referee in time-honoured fashion. When the stakes are high, you can seemingly guarantee ‘incidents’ in these games.
Patrice Evra, Gary Neville, Ji-Sung Park and Paul Scholes were warming down after a 2-1 loss when they were asked to move by ground staff, sparking a row. Both clubs say they will look at footage before deciding on any action.
“We will obviously be asking Chelsea to let us see their CCTV footage of the incident,” said an FA spokesman. “This will have nothing to do with the referee’s report. He would have been in his dressing room a long way from the incident.”
Ferdinand lashed out at a brick wall as he walked off the pitch but also made contact with a female steward. “Unfortunately, a lady was stood by and I accidentally brushed her with my foot. I apologised profusely and went back to make sure she was OK,” he said.
“I have arranged for a bouquet of flowers to be sent to her. Credit to her, she laughed it off and was very understanding. She said she wasn’t hurt.”
Chelsea were charged with failing to control their players after losing 2-0 at Old Trafford earlier this season, although it appears that United have been culpable of exactly the same thing this weekend. No team likes losing but these two teams find such a notion so unacceptable that it seemingly spills out into ugly scenes which bring the game into disrepute.