UEFA clears Barcelona's Busquets of racial abuse
UEFA cleared Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets to play in the Champions League final after dismissing claims Monday he racially insulted Real Madrid defender Marcelo during the semifinals.
Busquets was facing a five-match ban if UEFA's disciplinary panel found the racial abuse allegation proven at a hearing held on Sunday.
However, panel chairman Thomas Partl of Austria judged there was ''a lack of strong and convincing evidence,'' UEFA said in a statement.
Marcelo, who is black, alleged that Busquets called him a ''monkey'' during an ill-tempered first-leg match on April 27 in Madrid, which Barcelona won 2-0.
The Brazilian defender and Madrid submitted statements and video evidence of the incident to support their claim.
Busquets can now play in the May 28 final against Manchester United at Wembley Stadium.
''UEFA has notified FC Barcelona that it has rejected Real Madrid's complaint,'' Barcelona said in a statement on its website.
Later Monday, UEFA's appeals body dismissed a separate complaint from Madrid, which sought to open another case against Busquets and two other Barcelona players.
Madrid had challenged a UEFA disciplinary ruling which cleared the Spain midfielder and his teammates Dani Alves and Pedro Rodriguez of feigning injuries during the first leg.
Barcelona drew the return home leg 1-1 to advance to the final.