Nick Potts/PA Wire/Press Association Images
Out of Line

Ferguson charged by FA after criticizing referee

The Manchester United boss faces a four-game ban as a result of comments which he made on Tuesday night.

MANCHESTER UNITED MANAGER Alex Ferguson was charged with improper conduct by The Football Association on Thursday over his harsh criticism of a referee following Tuesday’s 2-1 loss at Chelsea.

Ferguson was furious that Martin Atkinson failed to dismiss David Luiz when the Chelsea defender fouled Wayne Rooney, having already been booked.

Shortly afterward, Atkinson awarded a penalty kick when United defender Chris Smalling fouled Yuri Zhirkov and Frank Lampard scored the winning goal from the spot.

“You want a fair referee, or a strong referee anyway — and we didn’t get that,” Ferguson said on United’s in-house TV channel. “I must say, when I saw who the referee was I feared it. I feared the worst.”

The FA said that Ferguson has until 1600 GMT on Tuesday to respond to the charge of “improper conduct relating to media comments.”

If Ferguson is found guilty, a further two-match ban will be triggered because half of a four-match ban for questioning referee Alan Wiley’s fitness last season was suspended until the end of this season.

United has a four-point lead over Arsenal at the top of the Premier League going into Sunday’s match against Liverpool.

Associated Press