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Manchester United defender Phil Jones has slammed UEFA for having to endure a two match ban imposed on him by the organization for insulting a doping officer after last season’s Europa League final.
Manchester United emerged the winner of the Europa League in a grand style last season but there was controversy after the game which saw the 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 examination following the game but the failed to show up for the test immediately as they were looking to celebrate the Europa League win with their teammates in the dressing game.
In addition to the fine, a two European game ban was enforced on Jones after it was revealed that he insulted the doping official and as a result, the Englishman was sidelined for the UEFA Supeer Cup final against Real Madrid, and will also not appear for United’s Champions League opener against Basel later this month.
Jones has now opened up regarding the controversy and has deemed 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.”