Mar 24, 2011

Sir Alex Ferguson slammed for undermining FA Respect campaign

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Sir Alex Ferguson was last night accused of undermining the FA's Respect campaign with his criticism of referee Martin Atkinson. The Manchester United manager was hit with a five-game touchline ban and ?30,000 fine last week after claiming his side did not have a 'fair' referee when they lost at Chelsea earlier this month. An independent commission found him guilty of questioning Atkinson's integrity and its chairman, Craig Moore, said the comments from such a high-profile figure had damaged the FA's attempts to encourage more respect for match officials. Give me a call: Ferguson uses the phone to reach the bench as he starts his ban in the clash with Bolton In the commission's report,published yesterday, Moore wrote: 'Sir Alex's comments undermined theattempts by the Football Association, through its Respect Campaign, toencourage higher standards of behaviour within the game, includingrespect for officials. 'The commission had no hesitation infinding that any reasonable person, hearing the post-match interview...would have understood his use of the word 'fair' to imply that MrAtkinson had been 'unfair'. 'It clearly called into question theintegrity of Mr Atkinson and brought the game into disrepute bysuggesting that a particular referee lacked impartiality.' Ferguson hit out at Atkinson for notshowing Chelsea defender David Luiz a second yellow card for challengeson Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez as United lost  2-1. In an interview with United's own TVstation after the game, he said: 'You want a fair referee, or a strongreferee anyway, and we didn't get that. I must say, when I saw who thereferee was I feared the worst.' Flashpoint: Ferguson thought David Luiz (right) should have had a second booking for a foul on Wayne Rooney The commission rejected Ferguson'sdefence that he had retracted the word 'fair' and immediately replacedit with 'strong', as well as his claims that other managers have madesimilar comments and not been charged by the FA. It also revealed that Ferguson, whowas ordered to pay costs of ?1,200 for the hearing in Birmingham, didnot help his cause by refusing to accept the charge and failing toapologise to Atkinson. 'It follows from his denial of thecharge that no clarification or retraction of any of his comments hasbeen made by Sir Alex and no apology given to Mr Atkinson, even afterthe charge had been brought,' wrote Moore. 'The commission regarded this as a serious aggravating feature.' Moore also defended the decision toinvoke a further two-game ban suspended from 2009 after Fergusonquestioned the fitness of referee Alan Wiley because the Unitedmanager knew that threat was 'hanging over him' until the end of thecurrent season and also because the latest transgression was consideredeven more serious.  Fergie's fine should have gone to Japan, not to the FA, blasts Blackpool boss Holloway Fergie accepts five-match ban despite blasting FA rap for 'telling the truth' Graham Poll: Call that a ban? Sir Alex Ferguson still able to have his sayFormer United assistant Queiroz has lengthy touchline ban liftedAll the latest Manchester United news, features and opinion  Explore more:People: Alex Ferguson, Martin Atkinson, Wayne Rooney, Craig Moore Places: Birmingham Organisations: Football Association



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