Manchester United have reacted to the controversy surrounding Roy Keane’s recently-published autobiography by slapping a ban on their players writingbooks.

Keane’s controversial book has almost overshadowedUnited’s start to the new season, attracting criticism from the media and two charges of bringing the game into disrepute from The Football Association.

United have responded to the furore surrounding the book by suggesting that it would be ‘inappropriate’ for players to publish a book while they are playing for the club.

“We need to make it clear that we don’t think it’s appropriate for players to publish a book while they’re still playing for Manchester United,” said United’s managing director David Gill.

“We want them to concentrate on playing,’ he added.

“We believe they can do other commercial deals. David Beckham’s doing Castrol and Pepsi, Roy Keane does Aer Lingus, that’s fine. A book is another issue.”

Gill also admitted that the Old Trafford lawyers did not read the book before it hit the shops.

“I’m sure obviously the publisher’s lawyers looked at it, his lawyers looked at it. Manchester United, our in-house lawyers, did not look at it,’ he added.

“It’s going to go through the process and clearly we will support Roy as a key player within Manchester United.”

However, Gill confirmed that Beckham’s autobiography due out next year would not be affected by the ban.

“You can’t apply the rules retrospectively,’ he admitted. ‘If he’s signed a contract, we’re not in a position to deny him that opportunity.”