UEFA's disciplinary body has confirmed that Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher will miss the Champion's League final on 27 May along with Barcelona defenders Eric Abidal and Daniel Alves.
European football's governing body said in a statement that they rejected protests by both clubs against the suspensions. "All three players are therefore suspended for one UEFA club competition match and will serve their suspensions when Barcelona meet Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League final in Rome on 27 May," it added.
Fletcher was suspended for the final against Barcelona after collecting a red card in United's semi-final victory against Arsenal last week. Abidal also received a red card during the Spanish side's semi-final against Chelsea, while Alves collected a yellow card for his second match in the competition.
United manager Alex Ferguson had pressed ahead with his protest even though he acknowledged that it had little hope of success. Television replays hinted that Fletcher might have made a legal challenge on Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas but Italian referee Roberto Rosetti awarded a penalty against United and a gave a straight red to the player.
"We understand the system and honestly believe the referee made the right decision at the time. From his angle and from where I was, I thought it was a penalty myself," said Ferguson. "But from the replays it is obvious Darren managed to get his leg round and flick the ball away from Fabregas," he added.
With Barcelona, Abidal was dismissed for what appeared to be a professional foul on Nicolas Anelka, but television replays also suggested that the defender had made only minimal contact with his French compatriot.
"No grounds for contest"
However, UEFA said Monday that its Control and Disciplinary Body had concluded that the protests were unfounded because "there were no grounds for contesting the referees' original decisions" relating to all the protests. It also said the protests were unreceivable anyway because they were not submitted within the required 24-hour deadline after a match.
Barcelona's coach Josep Guardiola will therefore be without both his first-choice fullbacks, as well as one of his regular centre-backs, Rafael Marquez. Furthermore, Andres Iniesta - whose injury-time strike against Chelsea in London last week took Barcelona through to the final - and Thierry Henry are still trying to recover from injuries in time for the match in Rome.
The decisions of UEFA's Control and Disciplinary Body can be appealed within three days of the written decision.