Sir Alex Ferguson Forced to End BBC Silent Treatment

Kieran BecklesCorrespondent INovember 16, 2009

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 03:  Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson heads for the dressing room at the end of the UEFA Champions League Group B match between Manchester United and CSKA Moscow at Old Trafford on November 3, 2009 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Sir Alex Ferguson has endured a week of toil after being handed an unprecedented £20,000 fine for his controversial comments over the fitness of Premier League referee Alan Wiley.

He described Wiley as being “not fit enough” to take charge of United’s 2-2 draw with Sunderland at Old Trafford in a post match interview with MUTV.

“The pace of the game demanded a referee who was fit. It is an indictment of our game. You see referees abroad who are as fit as butcher’s dogs.”

“We have some who are fit. He wasn’t fit. He was taking 30 seconds to book a player. He was needing a rest. It was ridiculous,” added Ferguson.

His unwise choice of words incurred the wrath of the Football Association.

Ferguson received a sharp slap on the wrists but in reality, the actions of the FA will leave a relatively small dent in his finances. It is inevitable that the Manchester United boss will unleash another verbal directed at an incompetent official in the near future.

Most managers are guilty of lacking discretion when they feel aggrieved at what they deem a poorly refereed 90 minutes of football.

The head of the referees’ union, Prospect, are planning to discuss the possibility of pursuing legal action against the manager who has led the Red Devils to two European cup successes.

In recent years, Ferguson has refused to conduct interviews with the BBC since the corporation’s Panorama programme produced a documentary which presented the Scottish manager’s son in dis-satisfactory light.

The programme suggested that Jason Ferguson—who is a football agent—had used his father’s position of power to gain influence within the transfer market.

He has only ever broken this barrier of silence to attend the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year in 2007 to present his colleague and friend, the deceased Sir Bobby Robson, with a lifetime achievement award.

Otherwise he has refused to speak to the BBC.

However recent legislation amendments will now force the wily Scot to participate in interviews with the BBC and other television and newspaper companies.

The Premier League held a board meeting on Thursday, which United Chief Executive David Gill attended, where it was agreed that a rule would be established to make it mandatory for all managers to speak to the BBC.

Subsequently fellow cronies, Harry Redknapp and Sam Allardyce, will also be required to put their disputes with the BBC behind them. The pair had boycotted Match of the Day and BBC Radio Five Live after Panorama directed allegations at them in a different episodes of the programme.

Any manager who fails to abide by these new regulations will be subject to sanctions with the severity increasing if individuals continue to ignore the new measures.

In addition, once the referee brings proceedings to a close, television rights holders will be permitted access to the pitch and allowed to interview members of the winning team. It is an innovative move that will provide a greater depth of media coverage to broadcasters.

As only winning squads will be subjected to the interviewers’ questions, matches ending in a draws will see both teams targeted. It is an intriguing decision by the Premier League which will ultimately heighten the experience of the fan watching at home.

We can however expect an escalation in the number of inappropriate post-match comments with the overflowing emotions of professional footballers give a wonderful insight into the competitive streak of these athletes.