Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and Chelsea counterpart Carlo Ancelotti have both received warnings from the Football Association for making comments about Howard Webb before their recent Barclays Premier League clash.
Both managers made positive remarks about World Cup final referee Webb ahead of the May 8 meeting of the title rivals at Old Trafford, contravening FA regulations which prohibit any comment - good or bad - about referees prior to games.
The governing body's regulatory commission today warned Ferguson as to his future conduct in relation to the comments before issuing an identical judgement on the Blues boss this evening.
The FA received criticism for raising an improper conduct charge against Ferguson over the positive comments he made and Ferguson is not believed to have offered a significant response to the charge.
And today both he and Ancelotti - whose comments were less widely reported - learned they will face no punishment beyond a gentle reminder not to do it again.
Ferguson had said in the build-up to the match, which his side won 2-1: "We are getting the best referee, there is no doubt about that.
"But (getting a bad decision) is definitely our big fear. We have the players to do it all right. We just hope it's our turn for a little bit of luck."
Ancelotti was similarly glowing about Webb.
"I think it's not good to speak about the past, and also it's not good to speak about the referee because I don't want to put pressure on the referee," said the Italian.
"Howard Webb is a fantastic referee, he has experience, he has skills, but this is football and sometimes when things are not good you speak about the bad decisions against you."
An FA statement about Ferguson's warning said: "A Regulatory Commission has today warned Sir Alex Ferguson as to his future conduct.
"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.Reuse content