Ferguson denies FA charge

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The Independent Football

The veteran Scottish striker was sent off moments before the incident involving Chimbonda, after punching Paul Scharner in an off-the-ball incident. He already faces a three-match ban for punching Scharner in the 1-1 draw.

The referee, Mike Dean, initially missed seeing 34-year-old Ferguson shoving his hand into Chimbonda's face but informed the FA that, had he witnessed the incident, it would have warranted a dismissal on its own. Ferguson's case will now be considered by a disciplinary commission on 10 February.

If he is found guilty, an additional three-match suspension seems certain, ruling him out until either the Premiership game with Fulham on 11 March or against Aston Villa seven days later, depending on the outcome of Everton's FA Cup replay at Chelsea.

His manager, David Moyes, fears Ferguson is in danger of paying unfairly for his tough reputation and said: "I was surprised when I first heard about the FA's second charge against Duncan - although having reviewed the incident, I can see why it has come to their attention. An incident somewhat similar happened not too far away from here recently - when certain people were not charged - so I would hope this is not victimisation in any way."

Moyes chose not to be specific, but it is likely he was referring to Liverpool's match on Boxing Day when Steven Gerrard appeared to grab Newcastle's Lee Bowyer, who was later sent off, by the throat.