Ref Rant Punishment

Ferguson accepts FA charge

October 27, 2009

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson could face a touchline ban after he accepted an FA charge of improper conduct following his comments on the fitness of referee Alan Wiley.

Sir Alex Ferguson
GettyImagesSir Alex Ferguson: Facing touchline ban

• Ferguson's best referee rants

Ferguson, who said after his team's 2-2 draw with Sunderland at Old Trafford earlier this month that Wiley was "not fit" to officiate the game, has requested a personal hearing. The date for that has yet to be decided.

The United manager's comments infuriated the referees' union Prospect, who have mounted a campaign to land the 67-year-old Scot with a lengthy ban.

Ferguson said after the Sunderland game: "The pace of the game demanded a referee who was fit. He was not fit."

The United boss later apologised for any embarrassment his comments had caused to Wiley, but did not retract the claim and said that he hoped he had highlighted "a serious and important issue in the game".

Ferguson has also come under fire for criticising referee Andre Marriner following Sunday's 2-0 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield. The United boss said he thought his team "lost out to one or two major decisions" and questioned "whether he [Marriner] had enough experience".