Newcastle defender Titus Bramble will not face disciplinary action following his clash with PSV Eindhoven midfielder Remco van der Schaaf.
The 22-year-old appeared to catch the Dutchman with a flailing arm as half-time approached in United’s 1-1 UEFA Cup quarter-final, first leg draw at the Philips Stadium last week.
Match referee Gilles Veissiere did not see the incident, but spoke to both men in the aftermath before taking no further action, and although the Magpies feared that video evidence may be used to try their player after PSV coach Guus Hiddink hit out at the official, UEFA today confirmed that Bramble is in the clear.
“There is nothing mentioned in the referee’s report so there will not be any disciplinary action taken,” a UEFA spokesman told the Press Association.
Bramble’s cause will have been helped by van der Schaaf making a meal of the incident, although having seen team-mates Craig Bellamy and Alan Shearer both banned from Champions League games last season after being convicted on video evidence, the former Ipswich defender must have feared the worst.
Bellamy picked up a three-match suspension for head-butting Dynamo Kiev defender Tiberiu Ghioane, while Shearer sat out two games following a tangle with Inter Milan’s Fabio Cannavaro.
The latest incident came in the dying minutes of the first half with the home side leading 1-0 through Mateja Kezman’s 15th-minute opener.
Van der Schaaf went to ground after appearing to be caught by Bramble’s arm as the pair came together at a Newcastle corner, with the Dutchman undergoing extensive treatment on the pitch before he and his adversary were lectured by the French referee.
PSV’s players and their fans behind the goal were furious, and their mood was not improved seconds later when the same man was adjudged to have fouled Olivier Bernard wide on the United left and Jermaine Jenas rose to head home Laurent Robert’s free--kick to snatch a precious draw for Sir Bobby Robson’s men.
The two sides meet in the second leg at St James’ Park tomorrow night with either Inter Milan or Marseille awaiting the winners in the semi-finals.
Newcastle warmed up for perhaps the biggest game of their season to date with a hard-fought 0-0 draw with Arsenal on Sunday which kept their Champions League dreams alive, while PSV trounced Groningen 5-0 with Kezman plundering a hat-trick to cement their second place behind Ajax.