Alex Ferguson escapes with warning over referee comments

A Football Association regulatory commission has warned Sir Alex Ferguson as to his future conduct in relation to recent comments about referee Howard Webb.

The FA received a huge amount of criticism for raising an improper conduct charge against Ferguson over the positive comments he made about Webb ahead of Manchester United's key Premier League encounter with Chelsea last on May 8.

Ferguson is not believed to have offered a significant response to the charge.

And today he has learned he will face no punishment, beyond a gentle reminder not to do it again.

"A Regulatory Commission has today warned Sir Alex Ferguson as to his future conduct," said an FA statement.

"Ferguson was charged with improper conduct, relating to his pre-match media comments made about match official Howard Webb on May 6, 2011.

"The chairman of the commission made the following statement following the hearing: 'This rule was brought in at the start of the 2009/10 season and this was reiterated formally to all Clubs again on 21 October 2010.

'This is a clear breach of the rule and it is the first time such a matter has been placed in front of a Commission.

'As a result of this charge the Commission were aware of other occasions where pre-match comments were made by other managers.

'In this case, it was considered to be a minor breach, but a breach nevertheless, and it should be taken as a warning to all managers in the future that any such breach, even positive comments, are likely to result in a charge by The FA.'"

It was anticipated Ferguson would not be harshly treated over this latest disciplinary problem, which came just three weeks after he completed a five-match touchline ban for negative comments made about Martin Atkinson, following his performance in United's 2-1 defeat at Chelsea on March 1.