LONDON (AFP) - A teenage Manchester United fan who dialled police to report a referee for the "crime" of sending off Nani during his side's Champions League defeat by Real Madrid has apologised.
The 18-year-old, who has not been named, was watching at the home when, like thousands of United fans at Old Trafford on Tuesday, he was incensed by Turkish referee Cuneyt Cakir's decision to show a red card to Nani.
That prompted the supporter, who was watching the match on television in a village near Bingham in Nottinghamshire, central England, to dial Britain's emergency 999 telephone line at around 2120GMT to tell operators a crime had been committed.
United, leading 1-0 on the night, then lost the match 2-1 and the tie 3-2 on aggregate as they exited the Champions League at the first knockout stage of the last 16.
"While this recent example may be amusing, it illustrates the sort of insincere calls we have to deal with on a daily basis in the control room," chief inspector Ted Antill of Nottinghamshire Police said on Wednesday.
"They waste our time and they direct us away from genuine victims of crime, particularly if we dispatch officers out to something that turns out to be a bogus report.
"I would ask people to think before picking up the phone for emergency services. I would also advise parents to ensure your children are aware that prank calls and the reporting of made-up crimes is a crime in itself."
The officer added: "There may be people out there in real trouble who need our help and they have to wait because we are tied up with calls like this one, reporting a referee from the television."
Nevertheless no further action was taken, with Antill explaining: "In this case, the man realised his bad judgment and apologised and we decided not to pursue it further."