MANCHESTER: Patrick Vieira and Manchester City have reacted angrily to what he claims is a “serious and cynical misrepresentation” of an interview he gave at the Soccerex European Forum in Manchester.
The furore underscored concerns expressed earlier in the week that title race nerves were beginning to show at Eastlands.
Vieira, having fuelled controversy last week by suggesting it had been a desperate measure from Manchester United to bring Paul Scholes out of retirement in January, reappeared in a discussion about youth development with Stuart Pearce, Gerard Houllier and David Sheepshanks.
In a later interview with the BBC, he seemed to suggest United were benefiting from refereeing decisions. This had erupted as a topic of controversy since Monday when Fulham were denied a last-minute penalty in their 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford when Michael Carrick appeared to foul Danny Murphy inside the box.
City responded by condemning the manner in which Vieira’s comments had been during an interview which the club had expected to concern Vieira’s work for the Football Against Hunger charity campaign.
“Patrick Vieira has expressed his disappointment and anger at what he feels is a serious and cynical misrepresentation of an interview he gave to the BBC,” said the statement.
“Manchester City’s Football Development Executive gave the interview at the annual SoccerEx exhibition at the GMEX Convention Centre on Wednesday afternoon. He was representing Football Against Hunger, a campaign to tackle starvation in Africa.
“An interview given to the BBC’s Dan Roan contained what Patrick feels was a very leading line of questions regarding Manchester United supposedly receiving favourable treatment by referees. Patrick feels that his views have been deliberately taken out of context.”
Vieira said: “I am very angry . . . I made it clear in the interview twice that I wanted to avoid criticising United and even stated that I didn’t watch the United game against Fulham and had not seen the incident to which the reporter referred. That part of the interview was ignored and my comments were taken completely out of context. I called the reporter twice to ask for a retraction and an apology which has not come.
“I feel Dan Roan and the BBC have shown a complete lack of respect for me, the ‘Football Against Hunger’ charity and Manchester City Football Club.”
The statement continued: “Manchester City support Patrick in his strong feelings on this matter and have confirmed to the BBC that the reporter will now be banned from all Manchester City media activity.”
Chief Communications Officer, Vicky Kloss, said: “Despite the Charity arranging the interview with Dan Roan for the purposes of promoting the Football Against Hunger campaign, the reporter pursued a leading and aggressive line of questioning, through which Patrick was very careful to tread a diplomatic path.
“A misrepresentative article by Dan Roan appeared on the BBC’s website a short time later which omitted significant comments of clarification and took the interview completely out of context.
“Manchester City promotes a positive and welcoming approach to media outlets, however it is felt, in the absence of any correction or apology that there is no option but to issue an immediate ban to Dan Roan from future media activity.”
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