Manchester United welcomes the FA’s acknowledgement of its concerns over the handling of the publication of the recent disciplinary hearing findings.
While the Club’s view of the sentence handed to the player is well-known, on this separate issue it has been concerned on two counts: the effect on the reputation of some of its most highly regarded and respected members of staff and the possible effect on the willingness of people to assist the FA in the future with its investigations.
The Club acknowledges the desirability of more transparency in the disciplinary process, but only on a consistent basis – both in publication and in verdict. The Club accepts that there was no intention to harm the reputations of Michael Phelan, Richard Hartis and others, but feels that the episode has potentially created an atmosphere in which people in the game will be reluctant to volunteer information if they believe their careers may suffer as a result of helping the FA.
The staff involved have exemplary careers as professionals at the top of the game and Michael in particular has been associated with the Club for most of the last 20 years and in that time he has consistently demonstrated himself to be a man of the highest integrity.
The Club considers the matter is now closed.
Following a meeting involving The Football Association Chairman Lord Triesman and Manchester United Chief Executive David Gill to discuss the decision to publish the full written findings of the Patrice Evra disciplinary hearing, The FA issued the following statement:
"On reviewing the decision to publish, The FA has provided assurances that in future all participants will be made fully aware prior to any hearing that all evidence provided should be done so in the knowledge that it could be made public.