Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Referees' chief wants Fergie sanctioned

The head of the referees' union Alan Leighton wants Sir Alex Ferguson banned for claiming referee Alan Wiley was not fit enough.
Fergie lambasted Wiley after his display in the draw with Sunderland FC and has since apologised for any embarrassment his remarks may have caused, but Leighton is keen to see the United chief is given more than just a slap on the wrist.
"A punishment should be a UEFA-type coaching ban, which is more than a touchline ban," said Leighton.
"A UEFA ban involves a ban for a greater period of time during, before and after a game."
Ferguson is sure to incur a hefty fine and a touchline ban at the very least after the FA asked the Old Trafford boss to explain his comments by 16 October.
However Leighton is keen to see Ferguson slapped with a ‘coaching ban’ which will prevent him from contact with the players for a significant amount of time before during and after matches.
Ferguson’s comments have certainly touched a raw nerve. The usual criticism about referees’ decision making is often brushed off because of the objectivity involved. But Fergie’s attack on Wiley’s fitness essentially questioned his credentials as a referee.
Referees are physically tested regularly throughout the season and the Prozone stats from the game suggested the official had in fact run further than around half of the Premier League players on the pitch.
Suggesting the official was lacking fitness - a compulsory attribute to do his job - was also questioning the integrity of the referees’ association and a huge oversight from Fergie.
His comments were though made in the heat of the moment and that will be argued, but whether his apology will be enough to see him escape punishment is unlikely.

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