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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 22, 2007

Lille complaint gives UEFA more to consider

Manchester United will find out tomorrow afternoon if UEFA plan to uphold a complaint made by Lille regarding Ryan Giggs' winner in their Champions League last-16 first leg.

The Welsh winger scored the only goal of the clash when he took a quick free-kick while Lille keeper Tony Sylva was lining up his wall.

Lille's players showed their anger at the goal immediately and at one stage looked close to walking off the pitch.

That scenario was avoided after a brief delay but the French club refused to let their disappointment lie and yesterday lodged an official complaint with European football's governing body.

A statement on the UEFA website said the organisation had 'received a protest from Lille concerning an alleged violation of the laws of the game by the referee when Manchester United scored the only goal of the match.'

Lille president Michel Seydoux was seething about the incident and after the match on Tuesday night vowed to take his side's protests further.

He believes the goal should not have been awarded and insists United were given preferential treatment by Eric Braamhaar.

The Dutch official had already enraged the French side by disallowing an earlier headed effort by Peter Odemwingie.

'If Lille had done [as Giggs] the same thing the referee would not have allowed the goal,' said Seydoux.

Meanwhile, UEFA have also confirmed that an investigation has been opened into the other incidents which marred the fixture.

French police were criticised by fans for being overly aggressive at the Stade Felix-Bollaert in Lens, and tear gas was dispersed during the game. At one point United fans looked in danger of being crushed against 10-foot high safety barriers.

There were also significant problems with ticketing and much of the blame has been placed on a supply of counterfeit tickets.

The statement confirmed that European football's governing body was 'investigating possible violations of binding UEFA safety and security instructions by the host club as well as the alleged improper conduct of both sets of supporters.

'The matter will be discussed at the next ordinary meeting of the UEFA control and disciplinary body on March 22.'

Dutch side Feyenoord were ejected from the UEFA Cup earlier this season after crowd trouble delayed their match against Nancy - a decision the Court of Arbitration for Sport later upheld.

But the timing of that meeting - more than two weeks after the return fixture at Old Trafford - seems to discount the possibility of Lille, who will hold a press conference this morning, following the Eredivisie side in being thrown out of European competition.

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