Ferguson's touchline tirade results in ban

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The Independent Football

Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United will decide today whether to appeal against a two-match touchline ban imposed on Ferguson for abusing match officials.

The Old Trafford manager was given the ban and fined £10,000 by the Football Association after being found guilty of two charges, improper conduct and insulting or abusing match officials.

The Scot had denied the charges and provided several witnesses to give evidence on his behalf at a lengthy hearing with an FA disciplinary panel at a central Manchester hotel yesterday. United's non-executive director, Maurice Watkins, said afterwards that Ferguson was "a little disappointed" with the result.

The charges related to an incident in United's 2-1 victory at Newcastle on 23 August when Ferguson was sent to the stands after a touchline tirade at the fourth official, Jeff Winter. Ferguson was furious that the referee, Uriah Rennie, had not penalised Andy O'Brien after the Newcastle defender's challenge on Ryan Giggs when the Manchester United player was through on goal. He leapt from his seat in the dugout and angrily booted a ball before remonstrating with Winter.

Watkins said: "It is fair to say that Sir Alex is a little disappointed with the outcome. We are going to reflect on it overnight and decide what we are going to do. It could end here and will only continue if there is an appeal.

"It is never right to make a snap decision after a long day," he added. "We will decide overnight. We had the full opportunity to explain our position. Obviously there was a difference of views. We were left with the verdict as it is."

If Ferguson decides not to appeal, then the ban will start immediately and be in force for the match against Fulham at Old Trafford on Saturday. He has 14 days to lodge an appeal or inform the FA that he does not intend to do so.

The FA released a brief statement saying: "At a disciplinary commission hearing today, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was found guilty of improper conduct and abusive and/or insulting language to a match official.

"He will be subject to a two-match touchline ban (start date to be confirmed) and was fined £10,000."

It is Ferguson's first domestic ban, although he was banned for one game in the World Club Championship in Brazil in 2000 for reacting angrily when David Beckham was sent off against Necaxa.