Friday 24 March 2017

Ferguson vents fury at officials over penalty travesty

Man Utd 1 Newcastle 1

Manchester United players approach referee Michael Jones after the final whistle at Old Trafford to complain about the penalty awarded to Newcastle. Photo: Martin Rickett
Manchester United players approach referee Michael Jones after the final whistle at Old Trafford to complain about the penalty awarded to Newcastle. Photo: Martin Rickett

Paul Wilson, at Old Trafford

Alex Ferguson hit out at refereeing standards after Manchester United dropped two points at home to Newcastle to lose more ground in the title race.

To be more specific, the assistant referee John Flynn was the subject of his ire for awarding a penalty against Rio Ferdinand, which allowed Newcastle their equaliser, but he also blamed the match referee, Mike Jones, for allowing his original verdict to be overturned.

"The penalty decision was an absolute travesty," Ferguson said. "The referee saw the incident and gave a corner, and he was in a far better position to judge than the assistant because he was only about eight yards away. I don't think anyone in the ground apart from the assistant thought it was a penalty, but he let the linesman overrule him. The problem is that assistant referees are not full-time, even if referees are. I could not understand the decision at all."

Even Newcastle's manager, Alan Pardew, accepted his side had been lucky with the penalty decision, though he thought they deserved a point for their overall performance. "I can understand Alex being disappointed with the decision but we deserved a break and on this occasion we got one," Pardew said.

Ferguson was more than disappointed. "Everyone, including the referee, was astounded when the linesman put his flag up," he said. "He was put in a terrible position. Why can't the referee overrule it when he is only eight yards away? It is not for me to decide whether the assistant referee gets another game again but it was an absolutely shocking decision. It costs you, a decision like that. Two years ago when the linesman gave the offside goal against Chelsea it cost us the league, so hopefully we're not saying that at the end of May. We slaughtered Newcastle and not to get the three points was a travesty."

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