United's Ferguson charged over referee fitness remarks

LONDON Mon Oct 19, 2009 2:43pm BST

Manchester United's coach Alex Ferguson gestures during their English Premier League match against Sunderland in Sunderland April 11, 2009. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis NO ONLINE/INTERNET USAGE WITHOUT A LICENCE FROM THE FOOTBALL DATA CO LTD. FOR LICENCE ENQUIRIES PLEASE TELEPHONE ++44 (0) 207 864 9000

Manchester United's coach Alex Ferguson gestures during their English Premier League match against Sunderland in Sunderland April 11, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Nigel Roddis NO ONLINE/INTERNET USAGE WITHOUT A LICENCE FROM THE FOOTBALL DATA CO LTD. FOR LICENCE ENQUIRIES PLEASE TELEPHONE ++44 (0) 207 864 9000

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LONDON (Reuters) - Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson was charged with improper conduct by the Football Association Monday for the comments he made about referee Alan Wiley after United's 2-2 draw with Sunderland this month.

In a post-match interview Ferguson accused Wiley of not being fit enough although he did apologise for causing Wiley "any personal embarrassment" a week later in a statement issued by the club.

In his statement Ferguson said he had merely been trying to highlight an important issue in the game.

"My only intention in speaking publicly, was to highlight what I believe to be a serious and important issue in the game, namely that fitness levels of the referees must match the ever-increasing demands of the modern game," he said.

The FA said Ferguson has until November 3 to respond to the charge.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Miles Evans)

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