November 25, 2010

ZURICH (Reuters) -- UEFA is to investigate allegations that two Real Madrid players got themselves deliberately sent off in a Champions League match against Ajax Amsterdam.

The European governing body said on Thursday that Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso would both be investigated for possible "improper conduct" along with coach Jose Mourinho and team mates Iker Casillas and Jerzy Dudek.

Ramos and Alonso were both dismissed late in Tuesday's 4-0 win away to Ajax Amsterdam after picking up second yellow cards for time-wasting.

The sendings-off mean they would serve automatic one-match suspensions in the final group game against Auxerre, which is a dead match for Real with the Spanish club already assured of first place in Group G and qualification for the last 16.

Both players had accumulated two yellow cards in the group stage before they were sent off and a further yellow card in a subsequent game would have meant a one-match suspension during the knockout stage.

A UEFA spokesman said that they would now start the knockout stage with one yellow card each against their names as the cards picked up before the Ajax game would still stand.

Spanish media reports said the players were acting on instructions from Mourinho. They said the message was passed by reserve goalkeeper Dudek during a conversation with first choice keeper Casillas.

Spanish television has repeatedly replayed a moment during the match when the pair were seen talking with their hands over the mouths. Mourinho was also filmed with his hand over his mouth.

"There's no need to keep talking about this," Ramos told Real's website ( "It's something which has been forgotten.

"It's time to turn over the page and think about the Clasico (match against Barcelona). I don't fear any sanction because I don't believe that I've done anything illegal."

A Real Madrid spokesman said any response to the UEFA investigation would be posted on the official website.

Two years ago, UEFA fined Olympique Lyon players Cris and Juninho 15,000 euros ($20,090) and 10,000 euros ($13,390) respectively for getting deliberately booked during a Champions League match against Fiorentina.

UEFA's disciplinary panel decided that the pair had committed deliberate fouls in order to serve a one-match suspension during their team's meaningless final group stage match.

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