Thursday 14 December 2017

Ferguson risks longer ban by rejecting legal advice not to appeal charge

Ian Herbert

Alex Ferguson's indignation about the improper conduct charge levelled at him by the Football Association has led him to reject legal advice and prepare to appeal.

Ferguson will risk a possible four-game ban in total by challenging the charge brought against him for his comments on referee Martin Atkinson after Tuesday's 2-1 defeat at Chelsea.

But his sense of indignation, clear from the fact that he has failed to appear to discuss publicly his side's encounter at Anfield tomorrow, has meant that he will declare his innocence of the charge levelled.

He rejected advice to the contrary, put to him yesterday.

Ferguson, who has until Tuesday evening to respond to the charge, knows that an admission of guilt would trigger his suspended two-match touchline ban for calling Alan Wiley's fitness into question last season.


There could be an additional one-game ban for the Atkinson incident and a further one-game ban for challenging the charge if the appeal is deemed "frivolous".

Ferguson's defence has not been outlined, but it is thought he will rely heavily on the fact that he appeared immediately to backtrack on his comments.

Ferguson appeared to bring Atkinson's integrity into question when he claimed "in matches like this you want a fair referee" in his post-match interview with the club's in-house station MUTV.

The United boss went on to explain he had "feared the worst" when he discovered Atkinson was going to referee the game, having been critical of the same official's decisions in the corresponding fixture 12 months ago, when Chelsea won through a controversial John Terry winner.

Meanwhile, Wes Brown is set to make only his third Premier League start of the season at Anfield tomorrow.

With skipper Nemanja Vidic suspended and Rio Ferdinand ruled out, Brown is poised to partner Chris Smalling in central defence.

In other news, Darren Fletcher has signed a new four-year contract that will keep the 27-year-old at United until 2015. (© Independent News Service)

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