Authorities overawed by Ferguson, claims Martinez

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The Independent Online

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has reportedly accused football authorities in England of being overawed by Sir Alex Ferguson.

Martinez was quoted as saying the Manchester United boss is given too much latitude by those who run the game in England, despite Ferguson yesterday admitting a charge of improper conduct brought against him by the Football Association.

That charge relates to his comments earlier this month that referee Alan Wiley was "unfit" while Ferguson also questioned whether Andre Marriner had the necessary experience to take charge of his side's 2-0 defeat to Liverpool at the weekend.

Ferguson will face the FA at a personal hearing for his comments regarding Wiley, but Martinez was quoted as saying other managers would have been hit with more decisive action than the Scot has so far.

"They (the FA) have just sanctioned Ferguson for saying that referee was not fit enough and the truth is that they're almost apologising to him for punishing him," Martinez was quoted as saying in the Spanish newspaper AS.

"Any other coach would have been crushed for that.

"Ferguson has been here for a lifetime and that carries a lot of weight."

Martinez's comments echo those of fellow Spaniard and Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez, who the Latics boss believes is unfairly targeted by some managers.

"Ferguson has his group of faithfuls, people who are committed to him: Steve Bruce, who was a player with him, Sam Allardyce, who thinks he will be his successor at Old Trafford, and others," Martinez said.

"On the other side there's Rafa Benitez and he gets attacked from all sides."

Martinez has since denied making the comments about Ferguson, releasing a statement through the League Managers' Association which read: "Wigan Athletic manager, Roberto Martinez, has today categorically denied making the comments about Sir Alex Ferguson that have been attributed to him in a number of media reports. Martinez has referred the matter to the League Managers Association."

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