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UEFA backs Old Trafford referee

UEFA has defended referee Cuneyt Cakir after the Turkish official faced heavy criticism for sending off Nani during Manchester United's Champions League defeat to Real Madrid.

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European football's governing body said it had "no problem" with Cakir and stressed that he would remain on its list of Champions League officials.

A spokesman said: "There are no issues for us regarding the sending off, and we will wait for the official reports of the match delegate and the referee's observer, as is procedure.

"If they raise concerns, then we will act - but he remains on our list of officials."

Nani was shown a straight red card for a high challenge on Alvaro Arbeloa with United 1-0 up shortly before the hour mark.

Goals from Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo then turned matters in the Spanish club's favour, and United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was said to have been "distraught" about the dismissal of his Portuguese winger.

Cakir, 36, is reported to have received death threats from United supporters in the hours after the final whistle.

UEFA said Nani would receive an automatic one-match European suspension, with United able to appeal after the disciplinary panel - which could increase that ban - has discussed the issue.

Meanwhile, police in Nottinghamshire have warned people not to waste their time after a United fan called 999 to vent his disgust at Nani's red card.

The 18-year-old fan later apologised for his actions, but the county's control room chief inspector Ted Antill said in a statement released by the force: "While this recent example may be amusing, it illustrates the sort of insincere calls we have to deal with on a daily basis in the control room.

"They waste our time and they direct us away from genuine victims of crime, particularly if we dispatch officers out to something that turns out to be a bogus report."


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