Manchester United have suffered a double blow with the news that Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes have both had their appeals against three-match bans rejected by the Football Association.
The pair were sent off in a pre-season friendly against Porto for violent conduct and serious foul play on 4 August.
The bans start on 23 August, allowing Rooney and Scholes to play in United’s opening league game against Fulham on Sunday. But they will miss the fixtures against Charlton, Watford and Tottenham.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson had been been pessimistic about the chances of Scholes being reprieved but he had been openly confident about Rooney being let off – and earlier this week said: “I am surprised it has carried on this far”.
Rooney himself said of his dismissal: “I feel a bit let down. If you watch the video, I did not take my eyes off the ball once.
“On the way down, my hands brushed against the player. There was not much contact but the lad went down and stayed down.”
But an independent commission rejected United’s claims for wrongful dismissal.
“The bans will start from Wednesday 23 August, 14 days on from the day the FA received the match officials’ report from the Dutch FA,” said an FA statement.
“Rooney and Scholes were sent off for violent conduct and serious foul play respectively.”