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Page last updated at 09:37 GMT, Friday, 16 October 2009 10:37 UK

Ferguson explains referee remarks

Sir Alex Ferguson
Ferguson criticised Wiley's fitness

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has sent an explanation to the Football Association of the comments he made about referee Alan Wiley.

The FA had asked Ferguson to explain himself after he lambasted Wiley following United's 2-2 draw at home to Sunderland on 3 October.

"The pace of the game demanded a referee who was fit. He was not fit. It was ridiculous," said Ferguson.

The Scot apologised to Wiley on 10 October for any embarrassment caused.

"It was never my intention to bring the focus of intense media attention on Mr Wiley," he said.

However, Alan Leighton, head of officials' union Prospect, described the apology as "half-hearted".


While managers are allowed to make comments on an official's performance, the FA insists they must not imply bias, question their integrity or engage in what could be construed as a personal attack.

Ferguson's comments suggested that Wiley was not fit enough to keep up with the pace of the action at Old Trafford.

"You see referees abroad who are as fit as a butcher's dog. He was taking 30 seconds to book a player," added Ferguson, who was also critical of Wiley's decision-making.

Ferguson twice headed towards the touchline during the second half to make his feelings known about decisions made by the officials.

At one point, after he felt midfielder Anderson had been denied a penalty, he jabbed his finger at fourth official Mike Dean and then pointed angrily to the pitch.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, who was sent to the stands for kicking a water bottle in frustration during the Gunners defeat at Old Trafford earlier in the season, believes referees should "keep their distance" from both players and managers.

"I have no relationship with the referee. I never speak to any referee," said Wenger.

"I respect the referees and I think they have to keep their distances from the managers and the players."

However, the Frenchman accepts there has to be censure for those who overstep the mark.

"You know we are sometimes too excessive after the games," he added.

"What we want is for everybody to be treated exactly the same so there is only one rule in the Premier League.

"When the managers do not respect the code of conduct, this rule has to be applied to everybody and I don't think even Ferguson would want to be treated differently."

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see also
Referees' boss wants Ferguson ban
12 Oct 09 |  Man Utd
Ferguson apologises to ref Wiley
10 Oct 09 |  Man Utd
Wiley 'fit enough for top flight'
05 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
Arsenal 6-2 Blackburn
04 Oct 09 |  Premier League

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