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Ferguson hit with FA fine and ban

Alex Ferguson
Ferguson launched a stinging attack on Wiley's fitness on 3 October

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has received a two-match touchline ban for his comments about referee Alan Wiley's fitness.

The Football Association handed the 67-year-old a four-game ban, with two of those suspended until the end of the 2010/11 season.

Ferguson has also been fined £20,000 and warned about his future conduct.

He made disparaging remarks about Wiley's fitness after his side's 2-2 draw with Sunderland on 3 October.

Ferguson apologised to the official for any embarrassment caused and pleaded guilty to the FA's charge of improper conduct, but requested a personal hearing.

Peter Griffiths QC, chairman of the FA's four-man regulatory commission, said: "Each member of the commission recognised Sir Alex Ferguson's achievements and stature within the game.

"Having said that, it was made clear to Sir Alex that with such stature comes increased responsibilities.

The FA had a chance to make a point and they flunked it - we don't think this is sending the right message out to other managers

Alan Leighton, head of referees' union Prospect

"The commission considered his admitted remarks, in the context in which they were made, were not just improper but were grossly improper and wholly inappropriate. He should never have said what he did say."

Ferguson will serve the touchline ban in his side's forthcoming Premier League matches at home to Everton on 21 November and away at Portsmouth on 28 November.

The suspended sanction will be automatically activated should he be found guilty of a similar charge before the end of the 2010/11 season on top of any sanction imposed for that offence.

Referees' union Prospect had called for Ferguson to be banned from stadiums during his team's matches following his criticism of Wiley's fitness.

Ferguson launched into a furious attack on Wiley in the wake of his side's draw against Sunderland, fuming: "The pace of the game demanded a referee who was fit. He was not fit."

He later said he was sorry for any personal embarrassment caused to Wiley, claiming the comments were to highlight "what I believe to be a serious and important issue in the game".

But Alan Leighton, head of Prospect, felt Ferguson's apology had been "half-hearted" and is disappointed by the ruling, believing the authorities missed an opportunity to make a statement to back up the FA's Respect campaign.

606: DEBATE
Staeh

"From our point of view it is disappointing. The Football Association had a chance to make a point and they flunked it," he said. "To question the fitness of referee is to question his ability to do the job and his integrity.

"We don't think this is sending the right message out to other managers. This is not a personal vendetta against Sir Alex but he has a particular stature within the game and if he is seen to be getting off lightly other managers may think what he said was not beyond the pale.

"What is interesting is that the commission thought the comments were not just improper but were grossly improper and wholly inappropriate."

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

Ferguson has a history of improper conduct charges for incidents involving referees.

In the 2007/08 season he was given a two-match touchline ban and fined £5,000 for a rant at referee Mark Clattenburg during a match at Bolton.

And during the last campaign he was banned for two games and fined £10,000 after remonstrating with referee Mike Dean after a match against Hull.



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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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