The midfielder incurred the suspension for a stamping incident while playing for Leeds, but the club assumed that he would be free to resume playing in European competition after sitting out the two-legged meetings with Partizan Belgrade, NAC Breda and FC Basel.
However, club officials, on the advice of the Football Association, did not include Bowyer in the list of players ‘eligible to play’ in those games as UEFA now claim that they should have done.
The result of this omission is that under UEFA rules he was considered inactive and the six games did not count towards his suspension.
United, backed by the FA. have already appealed unsuccessfully against the decision and it seems that the only alternatives available now are to accept the decision or take legal action, which is very unlikely.
A spokesman told the club’s official website: “The club submitted a very full and detailed appeal stating that UEFA’s decision was wrong as a matter of law and on the evidence put forward.
“The FA, who knew nothing of what essentially appears to be UEFA internal administrative working practice, attended the appeal along with the club, providing evidence to support the club.
“Despite their willing support the club is extremely annoyed with the FA and extremely disappointed by UEFA’s decision - it expected fair play and a commonsense approach, but now further appeal appears futile.
“The club still maintain and believe the player, who has done nothing wrong, is being particularly unfairly treated - his ban has been effectively doubled.
“The club is continuing to utilise diplomatic channels in an attempt to get the decision reviewed again, although time is running out with the first match on Thursday in Oslo.
“United have also contacted the PFA to enlist their help in support of the club and the player.”