UEFA says it may yet charge Real Madrid's Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos with deliberately picking up yellow cards during Wednesday's 3-0 Champions League quarter-final first leg victory against Galatasaray.
Alonso and Ramos were both booked for dissent late in the game, which means they can serve bans in next Tuesday's second leg in Istanbul, leaving them free from the threat of suspension for Madrid's presumed Champions League semi-final and possible final. It has been alleged that the players deliberately sought yellow cards, although Ramos and Blancos boss Jose Mourinho both denied this after the game.
A UEFA source told AS on Thursday that its Control and Disciplinary Body would study the report of referee Svein Oddvar Moen before deciding whether or not to act.
"We still have not made any decision," the source said. "The committee is waiting for the referee's report. But even if nothing is mentioned, there is still a possibility that the control body can act by themselves."
Englishman Barry Bright, who was UEFA's delegate at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday evening, could also play a role in determining whether charges are brought.
Alonso and Ramos picked up similarly convenient late bookings during a 2010-11 Champions League group game at Ajax. A UEFA inquiry then found they had attempted to 'play the system'. It handed out extra one-game bans and fines to both players, and to Mourinho, for what was a more blatant abuse of the rules.
The regulations around such actions were tightened in June 2011, and the current UEFA statute calls for "suspension for two competition matches or for a specified period for clearly receiving a yellow or red card on purpose". Proving intent may be more difficult on this occasion, but the committee regularly makes similar judgements, for example in relation to intentional handballs and diving.
UEFA is also considering sanctioning Madrid for allowing Galatasaray fans in the Bernabeu's away section to light a significant number of flares during the first half of the game. A fine is expected, although AS reported that the authorities may be lenient with the La Liga club as Spanish law prohibits security staff from carrying out body searches on fans entering the stadium.