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Page last updated at 15:09 GMT, Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Ref Wiley will not sue Manchester United boss Ferguson

Referee Alan Wiley
Wiley was described as not being fit enough to officiate in the match

Referee Alan Wiley says he will not be suing Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson over comments made about his fitness level.

The Premier League official has decided against bringing a defamation action but said he was "bitterly disappointed about the personal attack" on him.

Ferguson was given a touchline ban and fined £20,000 for his comments after a 2-2 draw with Sunderland in October.

He said the 49-year-old referee "was not fit" but later apologised.

Wiley said this week: "Although I was bitterly disappointed about the personal attack on me, I want to put this behind me and continue to concentrate on my refereeing."

Referees' union Prospect has written to the Football Association asking for stronger support for officials.

It is also demanding tougher action against any similar attacks on its members in the future.

I want to put this behind me and concentrate on refereeing

Alan Wiley

The union's national secretary Allan Leighton said: "Unwarranted and untrue attacks on referees damage the hard-earned reputation of our members, call into question their integrity and damage the image of the game by suggesting that the referees are incapable of doing their job."

Ferguson, 67, was punished by the FA with a four-game touchline ban - two suspended until the end of the 2010/11 season - after he said of the Sunderland match: "The pace of the game demanded a referee who was fit. He [Wiley] was not fit."

The United boss apologised to the official for any embarrassment caused and pleaded guilty to the FA's charge of improper conduct.

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see also
Ferguson handed Everton reprieve
19 Nov 09 |  Man Utd
Ferguson hit with FA fine and ban
12 Nov 09 |  Man Utd
Ferguson queries referee fitness
03 Oct 09 |  Man Utd
Wiley named as Cup final referee
24 Apr 06 |  FA Cup
How to watch Match of the Day
09 Aug 11 |  Match of the Day

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