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Ferguson apologises to ref Wiley

Sir Alex Ferguson
Ferguson insists he has "always respected Mr Wiley's integrity"

Sir Alex Ferguson has apologised to referee Alan Wiley for any embarrassment caused by comments the Manchester United boss made about him.

The Scot criticised Wiley's fitness after the 2-2 draw against Sunderland and has been asked to explain his remarks to the Football Association.

Ferguson apologised on United's website and added: "I intend to contact him personally after a trip overseas."

However, he insisted the fitness of referees was still "a serious issue".

While managers are allowed to comment 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," Ferguson said after the match.

And the 67-year-old reiterated his concerns in his statement, which continued: "My only intention in speaking publicly was to highlight what I believe to be a serious and important issue in the game.

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"The fitness levels of referees must match the ever-increasing demands of the modern game, which I hope will now be properly addressed through the appropriate formal channels."

Ferguson did, however, express regret at going public with his views and apologised to Wiley and the Football Association for doing so.

"I apologise to Mr Wiley for any personal embarrassment my remarks may have caused," he said.

"In retrospect, I accept that this could be deemed as expressing those views in an inappropriate forum.

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

During the second half of the draw at Old Trafford on 3 October, Ferguson twice headed towards the touchline 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.

"I would wish it to be noted that I have always respected Mr Wiley's integrity," added Ferguson.

"I did not state or imply that Mr Wiley is a bad referee, that he was in any way biased, that decision-making generally during the game was poor, or that he missed any key incident during the game."



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see also
Ferguson explains referee remarks
16 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


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