Uefa softens stance on Real red card storm

UEFA has reduced some of the sanctions handed out to Real Madrid relating to the dismissals of Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos in the recent Champions League match against Ajax following an appeal by the Spanish side.

Madrid were last week found guilty of improper conduct after Alonso and Ramos seemed to deliberately incur second bookings for time-wasting late on in the 4-0 win over Ajax in Amsterdam a fortnight ago.

Those dismissals - issued by Scottish referee Craig Thomson - wiped out previous cautions ahead of the Champions League knockout stage, with the players only missing this week's clash with Auxerre, which is a dead rubber for already-qualified Madrid.

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The nine-times European champions appealed against the initial ruling, which saw coach Jose Mourinho and players Alonso, Ramos, Iker Casillas and Jerzy Dudek receive varying penalties, and Uefa yesterday announced reductions for some of the initial sanctions.

A Uefa announcement read: "Real Madrid are now fined E100,000 instead of E120,000. Coach Jose Mourinho is now fined E30,000 euros instead of E40,000. Jose Mourinho is now suspended for one match - Wednesday's Group G fixture between Madrid and Auxerre - instead of the initial suspension of one game with a second game deferred for a probationary period of three years.

"The fines handed down to the Madrid players Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos (E20,000 each), Iker Casillas (E10,000) and Jerzy Dudek (E5,000) remain the same. The one-match suspensions handed down to Alonso and Ramos also stand."