The Football Association (FA) confirmed on Monday that Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been charged with improper conduct over comments he made about the fitness of a match referee.

Ferguson criticised referee Alan Wiley’s physical fitness after his team drew 2-2 with Sunderland at Old Trafford on October 3.

“He was not fit enough for a game of that standard,” Ferguson said at the time. “The pace of the game demanded a referee who was fit. It is an indictment of our game. You see referees abroad who are as fit as butcher’s dogs. He was taking 30 seconds to book a player. It was ridiculous.” Ferguson subsequently apologised for his remarks, saying he was trying to deflect from his team’s poor performance, but now faces a possible fine or touchline ban for the comments.

He has until November 3 to respond to the charge.

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