Alex Ferguson furious as FA picks fight with the Manchester United manager

Governing body opts to charge United manager for suggesting linesman in draw at Tottenham was biased

Sir Alex Ferguson was pitched back into a state of open conflict with the Football Association, after he was charged for comments made about an assistant referee at Tottenham Hotspur on 20 January.

The Manchester United manager will be furious that he has been charged over his discussion of Simon Beck after the 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane, in which Spurs scored their equaliser in stoppage time. Ferguson later claimed his club had “history” with Beck, following the official’s failure to rule out a Didier Drogba goal for Chelsea on the grounds of offside in 2010. The Scot has already stated that the governing body has been “panicked” into looking at his comments and that he is being victimised because United are a “high-profile club”.

Ferguson is unlikely to let his charge – under Rule E3, for implying a match official is biased – pass without further comment. He will be further irritated that he is being summoned when Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has escaped a fine or ban for suggesting the official Kevin Friend ate too much at Christmas and that QPR’s Harry Redknapp was not censured for saying that Chris Foy “should have gone to Specsavers or somewhere” following QPR’s Boxing Day defeat at West Bromwich Albion. But the FA believes that by bringing up a previous incident, Ferguson has questioned Beck's integrity.

Speaking after the Tottenham game, Ferguson expressed his anger that what he regarded as a "clear" penalty to United (when Steven Caulker challenged Wayne Rooney on Beck's side of the field) had not been given. His subsequent reference to United's "history" with Beck – dating back to 2010, when the official did not chalk off that Drogba goal as offside – prompted him to claim: "There was no way we were going to get a decision from [Beck]."

Ferguson is likely to escape with a fine rather a ban, as this is his first official brush with the FA this season.

In March 2011, he was handed a five-game touchline ban and fined £30,000 when found guilty of questioning the integrity of a referee, Martin Atkinson, after another game against Chelsea. Earlier this season, Ferguson escaped punishment for a high-profile confrontation with officials, including the referee Mike Dean, during a controversy-filled match against Newcastle United.

Last Friday, Ferguson was asked if his side was being victimised. "That is what I have put in my letter exactly. But you never know [with] the FA," he said. "We are high-profile and the profile of me is such that the FA naturally panic as soon as the press criticise them.

"I think that is what you will find. That is why they have sent me a letter. Whether I think it is unfair or not doesn't matter to them really at this point. I just think it is more about me than what I have said."

Ferguson has until 4pm on Friday to respond to the charge.

Odds Man United 2-9 Draw 6-1 So'ton 14-1

Kick-off 8pm (Highlights BBC 1, 10.35pm)

Referee L Mason (Lancashire)

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
food + drink
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'
tvCilla review: A poignant ending to mini-series
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style