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FA to review Benitez complaints

Sir Alex Ferguson and Rafael Benitez
Ferguson is a past master at playing mind games with rival managers

The Football Association is to review Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez's verbal attack on Alex Ferguson before deciding whether to take any action against him.

Benitez claimed his Manchester United counterpart gets away with criticising referees and poured scorn on his complaints about the fixture list.

The FA said in a brief statement that the comments will be analysed "in their full context" in the coming week.

Ferguson has yet to respond to the claims levelled against him by Benitez.

It will certainly have an impact on their relationship, but not on Ferguson

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
The Spaniard's outburst came after a journalist asked for his response to Ferguson's suggestion that Premier League leaders Liverpool might get nervous in the title run-in.

After claiming Manchester United might be nervous themselves, he produced a sheet of paper and read out a list of accusations about Ferguson's conduct regarding referees, the FA's Respect campaign and fixture lists.

Benitez claimed that Ferguson intimidates match officials and often escapes punishment for his criticism of referees.

Former top-flight ref Graham Poll claimed in the Daily Mail that Benitez "has articulated what referees have been thinking for years - that Sir Alex can say what he wants about them and the FA allows him to get away with it."

However, Ferguson could point to several past run-ins with the FA during his time in charge at Old Trafford.

The most recent came in November when the Scot was given a two-game touchline ban and fined 10,000 for remonstrating with referee Mike Dean.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said on Saturday that he does not think Benitez's words will have any effect on the Premier League title race, but expressed his shock that the Liverpool boss had openly attacked Ferguson.

"It will certainly have an impact on their relationship, but not on Ferguson," he said.

"It came as a complete surprise because he [Benitez] is usually a quiet man and I would not like to comment further on that.

"I do not know what it was really about. I do not know what he [Ferguson] is doing. You do not know. Nobody knows in the country."

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see also
Benitez lays into rival Ferguson
09 Jan 09 |  Premier League
Rafael Benitez statement
09 Jan 09 |  Liverpool
Ferguson given ban & fine by FA
18 Nov 08 |  Man Utd

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