Manchester United defender Phil Jones has slammed UEFA for handing him a two match suspension for insulting a doping official after last season’s Europa League final.
Manchester United claimed the Europa League title in fine fashion last season but there was controversy after the game which saw Red Devils duo Phil Jones and Daley Blind being handed fines.
The fines were handed to Jones and Blind for ‘contravening doping control protocols’ after they were randomly selected for a drugs test following the game but the duo failed to comply immediately as they were looking to celebrate the Europa League victory with their teammates in the dressing room.
In addition to the fine, Jones was also banned for two European matches after it was revealed that he insulted the doping official and as a result, the Englishman missed the UEFA Super Cup final against Real Madrid, and will also be unavailable for United’s Champions League opener against Basel later this month.
Jones has now gone on to speak regarding the controversy and has branded the punishment handed to him as harsh. The defender told reporters ahead of England’s World Cup qualifier against Malta in Ta’Qali on Friday, “To be honest, I couldn’t believe it. It’s slightly harsh.
“You see players go in for leg-breaking challenges and they get a one-game ban or a two-game ban. I could understand if I didn’t comply with the rules, but I did.
“It’s not as if we had just won the Mickey Mouse League. We had won the Europa League. I’m sure anyone can understand, you work so hard all year round to win a prestige competition like that and someone says you can’t celebrate with your team.
“We had planned to do the banner for the Manchester attack (the suicide attack in May that claimed 22 lives). It is quite close, considering we are a Manchester team based in Manchester, but it wasn’t to be.
“Maybe there was language that was inappropriate, but it definitely wasn’t directed to the official himself. I definitely didn’t look at him in his eye and say that he was this and that. Looking back on it now, did I deserve a fine? Possibly. But a two-game ban is a bit out of the ordinary.”