Ferguson risks longer ban by shunning advice

 

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The Independent Football

Sir Alex Ferguson's indignation about the improper conduct charge levelled at him by the Football Association has led him to reject legal advice and prepare to appeal.

Ferguson will risk a possible four-game ban in total by challenging the charge brought against him for his comments on referee Martin Atkinson after Tuesday's 2-1 defeat at Chelsea. But his sense of indignation, clear from the fact that he has failed to appear to discuss publicly his side's encounter at Anfield tomorrow, has meant that he will declare his innocence of the charge levelled. He rejected advice to the contrary, put to him in a meeting at United's Carrington training base yesterday.

Ferguson, who has until Tuesday evening to respond to the charge, knows that an admission of guilt would trigger his suspended two-match touchline ban for calling Alan Wiley's fitness into question last season.

There could be an additional one-game ban for the Atkinson incident and a further one-game ban for challenging the charge if the appeal is deemed "frivolous". Ferguson's defence has not been outlined, but it is thought he will rely heavily on the fact that he appeared immediately to backtrack on his comments.

The midfielder Darren Fletcher has been given a new four-year contract that will keep the 27-year-old at United until 2015.

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