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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 23, 2007

Fergie's son, Neville's dad were in Lille crush

Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed his son Mark was caught up in the security drama in France on Tuesday night.

UEFA have launched an investigation into the incidents involving Manchester United fans at the Stade Felix-Bollaert after riot police fired tear gas into a section of the ground where supporters were getting crushed.

Although it seemed a totally inappropriate reaction to what could have developed into a life-threatening situation, the police have defended their actions.

Lille have also blamed United for the high number of forged tickets they felt caused the security problem in the first place.

Thankfully, no-one was seriously injured during the disturbance but Ferguson admitted his concerns as the drama began to unfold.

He said: 'There is always that worry for the safety of people.

'My own son was in the crowd and so was Gary Neville's father.

'I don't know if UEFA will take action. It is in their hands.

'But I feel we have dealt with the situation in the right way by getting reports from our own supporters and we are confident about our position.

'Obviously, there have been a lot of precedents in terms of crowd problems in previous years but I am sure their supporters will be looked after better when they come to Old Trafford than ours were over there.'

As he was trying to concentrate on the match, Ferguson's knowledge of the crowd problems is not too extensive.

However, the Scot was in a far better position to see the reaction of the Lille bench after Ryan Giggs had netted the controversial 83rd-minute free-kick which gave United their hard-earned victory.

And, while Lille officials have since claimed their players were merely attempting to register a protest at Giggs' goal, Ferguson is in no doubt they were trying to get the game called off.

'They have a serious problem because their players did try to walk off the pitch, there is no question about that,' said Ferguson.

'That must have come from the coach and I am sure there will be regrets in that respect. To protest against losing a goal in that way is unusual.

'There are many occasions in football when you complain. That is natural. But you don't walk off the pitch.

'When Ryan Giggs fractured his cheekbone against Lille last year, we sent a video to UEFA and to the referee to assess it because we felt the incident was violent conduct.

'They looked at it but they were happy with what happened, so we accepted it. That was the matter closed. That is what you do.'

The Lille players seemed genuinely taken aback when Dutch referee Eric Braamhaar allowed Giggs to take the free-kick even though goalkeeper Tony Sylva was still lining up his wall.

It was a similar scenario to the one that occurred at Highbury two years ago when Thierry Henry caught out Chelsea's Petr Cech.

Then, as on Tuesday, the referee (Graham Poll) asked whether the player wanted the wall back 10 yards and the whistle blown. When the offer was declined, the official simply walked away and allowed the kick to be taken.

'The laws of the game are the same for every country,' declared Ferguson. 'France are not exempt from them.

'They took free-kicks on five occasions during the game, we took some ourselves. You just put the ball down and get on with it. That is the option you have. You don't need a referee to blow his whistle.

'If that had happened to us, I would have been unhappy with my defence. I wondered why their goalkeeper spent so much time on his post? How long does it take to line up a wall?'