Sir Alex Ferguson in Trouble With the FA Once Again?

Craig Holland-GreenfieldContributor IIMarch 3, 2011

WIGAN, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 26:  Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson looks on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Wigan Athletic and Manchester United at the DW Stadium on February 26, 2011 in Wigan, England.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Sir Alex Ferguson is one of the most prolific and successful managers in English Football and a legend to the Man United faithful.

He is also a man, who has never been one to beat about the bush. If he feels something hasn't gone his team's way or disagrees with referees or other managers, he has always been very vocal about it, which has resulted in numerous troubles with the FA and bitter battles with opposition managers. His vocal battles with Wenger and Benitez being amongst his most famous spats.

Once again, though, it seems speaking his mind is going to once more get him into trouble with English football's governing body.

Following the defeat to Chelsea on Tuesday night, Ferguson was unhappy with some decisions made by referee Martin Atkinson. Fergie spoke to MUTV afterwards and was quoted as saying, "I feared the worst when I saw who the referee was, I must say. You want a fair referee—or a strong referee, anyway—and we didn't get that. I don't know why he's got the game."

Martin Atkinson is no stranger to criticism, having been criticised by ex-Manchester City manager Mark Hughes after the Manchester Derby in 2009, which saw Owen score the winning goal in the 96th minute; whereas only four minutes of extra time were signalled.

As well as being criticised in April 2010 by Birmingham defender Roger Johnson for awarding Aston Villa a late penalty, he was handed a one-week demotion to the role of fourth official after a dispute with manager David Moyes.

This latest criticism mirrors that of last season in the same fixture, when he was believed to have gotten key decisions incorrect.

Ferguson has been handed at least four touchline bans and handed substantial fines in the past, for his harsh and criticising words towards match officials. Due to Fergie's constant criticism of officials, there are some who believe referees are lenient towards United, Fergie time in particular being one advantage he is believed to be handed.

Fergie Time is added time that lasts longer than that allotted. Thus allowing Manchester United further chance to either draw or win the match in which they are playing.

After Fergie's latest words, the FA have been reported as asking MUTV to hand over the tapes. However, as they are not under FA jurisdiction they have no obligation to hand them over and may very well keep them in order to protect the manager.

Alan Leighton, secretary of the referee's union Prospect, has stated that Fergie should apologise to Atkinson and withdraw the remarks made about him.

Former premier league referee Jeff Winter has also called for Fergie to be punished and put to task over his remarks.

He was quoted as saying, "But he cannot be allowed to escape punishment for his remarks about Martin Atkinson, saying he was not a fair referee and that he 'feared the worst' before their game against Chelsea."

With the FA coming under their own criticism for failing to deal with incidents correctly, they may very well punish Fergie in a harsher manner than previous dealings.

With a lot of important games coming up in the race for the FA cup, Champions League and Premiership, any punishment that is doled out may possibly derail United's hopes of silverware, as they may have another touchline ban forced upon themselves.

With Ferguson only a short time away from retirement, is it about time he stopped criticising referee's so openly?

Do you believe he should be punished, and if so, what punishment do you think is fair?

Do you think the FA will punish him?


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