Busquets cleared for final, Real appeal rejected

Madrid: Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets has been cleared to play in the Champions League final after UEFA dismissed Real Madrid`s claim he racially insulted fullback Marcelo in their heated semi-final first leg.

UEFA said in a statement on Monday the chairman of its Control and Disciplinary Body had ruled there was a "lack of strong and convincing evidence" that Busquets had twice callled Brazilian Marcelo a monkey, or "mono" in Spanish during last month`s semi-final first leg.

In a separate ruling, UEFA dismissed Real`s appeal against an earlier decision to reject the club`s complaint about what it said was unsporting behaviour by a number of Barcelona players designed to influence the referee.

"The UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body decision to dismiss Real Madrid CF`s protest relating to the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg is upheld by UEFA`s Appeals Body," UEFA said in a statement on its website.

Barcelona, who sealed a third straight La Liga title last week, face English Premier League champions Manchester United in the final of Europe`s elite club competition at London`s Wembley stadium on May 28.

Spain international Busquets could have faced a five-match ban if European soccer`s governing body had found him guilty of abusing Marcelo at Real`s Bernabeu stadium.

Barcelona argued in their player`s defence that Busquets had not used the word "mono".

What television images of him addressing the Brazilian showed was him saying Marcelo had a lot of nerve, or "mucho morro", the club said.

Bureau Report