London, Nov 13(ANI): Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been handed a four-match touchline ban by the Football Association (FA) for his comments over referee Alan Wiley's fitness after Man U's 2-2 draw against Sunderland on October 3.
Two of the matches will be suspended until the end of next season. The FA regularity commission also levelled a 20,000 pounds fine on Fergie for suggesting that Wiley "just wasn't fit enough" to officiate in the Premier League after last month's game.
"Each member of the commission recognized Sir Alex Ferguson's achievements and stature within the game. Having said that, it was made clear to Sir Alex that with such stature comes increased responsibilities," The Mirror quoted Peter Griffiths QC, Chairman of the commission, as saying.
"The commission considered his admitted remarks, in the context in which they were made, were not just improper but were grossly improper and wholly inappropriate. He should never have said what he did say," he added.
The additional two-match ban will be activated if Ferguson is found guilty of a similar offence before the end of next season.
Following the comments, the referees had defended Wiley, and had urged the FA to ban Ferguson from any contact with his team on a match day.
"The manner in which this is being put across is that they are exerting undue pressure on the FA when the disciplinary process has begun. Some of the statistics being used are confidential," a source had said.
"United have been assured these statistics were not provided to the media by the companies which compile them. There is serious concern at how the refereeing fraternity is meddling with the disciplinary process," the source added. (ANI)