Sir Alex Ferguson banned and fined by FA
The Manchester United manager has been punished for improper conduct toward referee Alan Wiley
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has been given a two-match touchline ban and fined £20,000 for comments he made about referee Alan Wiley's fitness after Man Utd were held to a 2-2 draw by Sunderland on October 3. The 67-year-old manager claimed Wiley "just wasn't fit enough" and "needed a rest".
Ferguson is understood to be paid between £3.6m-£4m per year, so his fine equates to two days' wages.
The FA actually handed down a four-match touchline ban - but two of them were suspended until the end of the 2010-11 season. The suspended ban will be automatically activated should Ferguson be found guilty of a similar charge in that period, on top of any sanction imposed for the new offence. Given Ferguson's short fuse, he will therefore have to watch his step.
Ferguson apologised last month to Wiley for any embarrassment caused and pleaded guilty to the FA's charge of improper conduct. But he requested a personal hearing.
Peter Griffiths QC, chairman of the FA's four-man regulatory commission, said today: "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 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."
The FA's ban is unlikely to pacify the referees. Alan Leighton, head of their union Prospect, claimed Ferguson's apology was "half-hearted". He wanted the FA to impose a stronger sanction than a touchline ban, which still allows the culprit to watch from the stands.
He had in mind a total ban from any stadium where Man Utd were playing for the duration of the season – but the FA was never likely to come down that strongly on a man of Ferguson’s seniority in the sport. ·
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