FA considers action over Ferguson's penalty claims

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The Independent Football

Football Association officials are considering whether the Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, will face action after comments regarding his side's lack of penalties this season.

Football Association officials are considering whether the Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, will face action after comments regarding his side's lack of penalties this season.

Ferguson was asked to explain his comments following last month's Premiership win against Newcastle, when he suggested there was a "sinister" reason for United's lack of spot-kicks.

"We have received Sir Alex Ferguson's response and we are giving it due consideration," an FA spokesman said, although it is unclear when a decision will be made over possible action.

Ferguson was angered by the failure of the referee, Neale Barry, to award a penalty at Old Trafford when Andy O'Brien appeared to haul Alan Smith to the ground during United's 2-1 win. He suggested the attitude towards his team has changed since Mike Riley awarded them a penalty against Arsenal when Wayne Rooney was tripped. The decision was widely considered as harsh, and Ruud van Nistelrooy scored from the spot as United won 2-0, ending the Gunners' record unbeaten run in League matches.

"I am not sure if they are instructed but it is looking sinister to me," Ferguson had said. "That is the same referee [Barry] who gave Portsmouth a penalty against us for the slightest tug by Rio Ferdinand and also denied us an absolute certainty when Louis Saha was fouled at Chelsea.

"Since that penalty-kick against Arsenal, it seems to me we are not going to get another one, no matter what the circumstances."

The FA then wrote to the United manager, whose side have been awarded two penalties since the Arsenal game, to ask him to explain his comments.

His Chelsea counterpart, Jose Mourinho, was fined £5,000 earlier this season for suggesting to Chelsea TV that United players "cheated" during their Carling Cup semi-final tie at Stamford Bridge.

Celtic are considering a request to play Manchester United in a testimonial for Roy Keane on 3 August. Keane is on the verge of completing 12 seasons at Old Trafford.

Ray Wilkins will follow Dennis Wise out of Millwall as soon as the club have appointed a new manager. Wilkins has decided to resign as assistant manager after a meeting with the new chairman, Jeff Burnige. The manager, Steve Thompson, has left Cambridge following their relegation from the Football League. Thompson and four other members of staff have been made redundant.

Everton and Manchester City have agreed to play in a four-team pre-season tournament in Bangkok this summer along with the Thai national side and another, as yet unnamed, team.

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