Blind rage as UEFA vow to get tough on Lyon over Ronaldo laser incident
Lyon have been warned that they could face heavy UEFA sanctions after a supporter shone a laser beam into the eye of Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo in France on Wednesday night.
As a leading eye expert revealed that Ronaldo's performance could have been affected by the incidents in the Stade de Gerland, UEFA prepared to launch an investigation aimed at trying to stamp out a problem which is becoming widespread in French football.
One in the eye: Ronaldo is targeted by a laser in Lyon
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and his staff brought the issue to UEFA's attention before kick-off after kitman Albert Morgan noticed a tell-tale green spot flicking across Ronaldo's features, and although experts told Sportsmail last night that there is 'absolutely no chance' of permanent damage to the player's eye, Europe's governing body are taking the matter seriously.
UEFA director of communication Rob Faulkner said: 'We will get the delegate's report in, see if there is any mention of it and see in what way, if any, we can corroborate that.
'If there is a case, we will open an investigation and potentially after that there could be some disciplinary hearing with sanctions afterwards. 'If there is any action, then it would be something along the lines of a fine or so on.
'What we know so far is that there was definitely a laser pen aimed at Ronaldo during the warm-up. We tried to take some action before the game.'
Ronaldo is not the first player to be targeted in this way. English players have encountered these problems in France before, while Chelsea centre forward Didier Drogba was singled out by supporters at West Ham on December 3 last year.
The laser pens are manufactured for use in large lecture theatres as an aid to picking out key items on blackboards from a distance. Last night eye expert, Professor John Marshall of King's College, London, assured Sportsmail that Ronaldo faces no long-term effects but stressed that the pens should not be allowed to fall into the wrong hands.
He said: 'I have seen headlines in the past to suggest that these items can cause lasting damage. That is utter nonsense. But that does not mean I would condone their use. Their place is in the lecture theatre.
'Essentially, if a laser like this was shone into an individual's eye, then the equivalent effect is like that which occurs after somebody stares into a light bulb for a couple of seconds.
'There will be some impact on the vision and some brief disorientation and that would be it. That is obviously not ideal for a footballer but it will not harm him in the long term.'
Laser pens with a red light are available for purchase on the internet for a nominal price. However, the green pens, such as the ones used to distract Ronaldo and Drogba, are harder to obtain.
Previous hit: Drogba was targeted during a Premier League clash with West Ham
Professor Marshall added: 'I must admit that I was surprised to hear that this was a green one. They do have a stronger effect and are harder to find and therefore buy.'
United do not intend to push the issue any further with UEFA and Ferguson will not be terribly keen to encourage any bad blood with a club where he has some friends.
Ronaldo is understood not to be perturbed about the matter and has not said anything publicly about it after United and Lyon drew 1-1.
Last night the FA confirmed that incidents of this nature are rare in domestic football and, as such, there is no policy set down to deal with it.
But one sobering note for Ronaldo is that he is liable to become more disorientated by flash bulbs on a red carpet than he is by lasers shone on to a football pitch.
'People walking out of dark rooms to that kind of reception are much more at risk of disorientation,' said Professor Marshall.
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