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Page last updated at 18:13 GMT, Monday, 5 October 2009 19:13 UK

Wiley 'fit enough for top flight'

By Harry Reekie

Alan Wiley and Wayne Rooney
Wiley was "not fit enough" to take charge, according to Ferguson

Dermot Gallagher has defended referee Alan Wiley in the wake of scathing comments from Sir Alex Ferguson after Sunday's 2-2 draw with Sunderland.

The Manchester United boss claimed Wiley was not fit enough to keep up with the pace of the game, labelling his display as "ridiculous".

But former Premier League official Gallagher told BBC Sport: "Alan was definitely fit to referee that game.

"If Alan hadn't have been fit then he wouldn't have been appointed. "

Ferguson hit out at Wiley for not playing enough injury time at Old Trafford, and claimed the official was unable to keep up with play during the match.

But Gallagher, who refereed for 22 years before retiring in 2007 insisted Ferguson was totally wrong to question the fitness of the 49-year-old Wiley.

"It's certainly not true what Alex Ferguson said about the referee. It was a comment that can't be substantiated," he said.


Every single professional referee is monitored on a daily basis.

"Every single training session they do, everything is done on a heart monitor and downloaded to scientists and is analysed to see how hard they are working and whether they need to work harder.

"The Premier League is well aware of who's fit and who's not fit on a week-to-week basis.

"They know who is carrying injuries and who is able to ref games.

"I was in the Football League for 22 years and during that entire time I have never heard a referee be described as "unfit". It's just a thing that doesn't happen now because referees are so focused and so professional."

Dermot Gallagher books David Beckham
Gallagher is used to the pressures of refereeing at Old Trafford

The Football Association has written to Ferguson to ask for an explanation for the outburst, which came despite his side securing a draw with a dramatic injury-time equaliser.

And Gallagher, a former room-mate of Wiley, believes the veteran boss has let himself down in the manner of his accusation.

He added: "There's better ways to deal with things. If in the year 2009 you're an employee, you don't expect your employer to have a go at you in public.

"There are certainly avenues to go down. Sir Alex could have gone to the League Managers' Association for example.

"That way things are kept in house, as I believe they should be, and can be dealt with properly and effectively."

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see also
Ferguson explains referee remarks
16 Oct 09 |  Man Utd
Ferguson queries referee fitness
03 Oct 09 |  Man Utd
Man Utd 2-2 Sunderland
03 Oct 09 |  Premier League
Allardyce hits out at ref Walton
05 Oct 09 |  Premier League

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