Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has been charged by the English Football Association for his critical remarks about the fitness of referee Alan Wiley.
Ferguson singled out Wiley after his team salvaged a disappointing 2-2 home draw against Sunderland at Old Trafford on October 3. He accused Wiley of not being “fit enough for a game of that standard” and claimed was “walking up the pitch for the second goal needing a rest.” Match statistics revealed that the 49-year-old Wiley had ran more kilometers on the pitch than many of the players and Ferguson later apologized for his remarks, but it has not been enough to prevent the FA from taking further action. The FA said in a statement on Monday: “Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has been charged with improper conduct.
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“The charge relates to media comments made by Ferguson about referee Alan Wiley following United’s match against Sunderland at Old Trafford on October 3. “He has until November 3 to respond to the charge.” Ferguson could face a hefty fine or a touchline ban if he is found guilty of the charge. “My only intention in speaking publicly was to highlight what I believe to be a serious and important issue in the game, namely that 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,” he said. Ferguson has come under criticism from a clutch of former referees for his remarks which they said were made to distract from a poor performance by his side, who equalized through an own goal in extra time. A 2-1 home victory over Bolton on Saturday saw United consolidate their leadership of the Premier League ahead of Chelsea, who lost 2-1 at Aston Villa.