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Premier League

Ferguson charged over Wiley rant

Sir Alex Ferguson has been charged with improper conduct by the Football Association for his remarks about referee Alan Wiley's fitness.

The Manchester United manager has already apologised to Wiley but that has not saved him from an FA charge.

He now has two weeks to respond and can request a personal hearing if he wishes.

Ferguson made his comments following United's 2-2 draw with Sunderland at Old Trafford on October 3.

He accused Wiley of not being "fit enough for a game of that standard" and accused him of "walking up the pitch for the second goal needing a rest".

Ferguson could face a hefty fine or a touchline ban if he is found guilty of the charge.

The FA said in a statement: "Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been charged with improper conduct.

"The charge relates to media comments made by Ferguson about referee Alan Wiley following United's match against Sunderland at Old Trafford on October 3. He has until November 3 to respond to the charge."

Ferguson apologised to Wiley a week after making the remarks having concluded his attack was ill-judged.

He said then: "I apologise to Mr Wiley for any personal embarrassment that my remarks may have caused and to the FA for going public with my views.

"I would wish it to be noted that I have always respected Mr Wiley's integrity and that I did not state or imply that Mr Wiley is a bad referee, that he was in any way biased, that decision-making generally during the game was poor, or that he missed any key incident during the game.

"My only intention in speaking publicly was to highlight what I believe to be a serious and important issue in the game, namely that the fitness levels of referees must match the ever increasing demands of the modern game, which I hope will now be properly addressed through the appropriate formal channels."