The FA will examine Sir Alex Ferguson’s comments about referee Alan Wiley, after the Manchester Utd boss criticised the official for lacking the fitness to keep up with a Premier League gamed.
Ferguson launched an astonishing attack on Wiley after Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Sunderland, believing he hadn’t added enough time on.
“He (Wiley) was not fit enough for a game of that standard,” said Ferguson. “The pace of the game demanded a referee who was fit. He was not fit.”
The FA’s discipline and governance division are reviewing Fergie’s comments when they look back over the weekend’s action, with the prosect of a charge of improper conduct to follow.
Wiley was reported to be ”very upset” by the comments and is particularly disappointed that his physical condition has been called into question, having passed a fitness tests before the start of the season.
“The fitness of [our] Select Group match officials is continually assessed throughout the season to ensure it is of the highest possible standard,” a spokesman for the Professional Game Match Officials Limited told the Guardian.
Professionals union Prospect, who represent referees, have defended Wiley.
Alan Leighton, the national secretary of Prospect, told Sky Sports News: ”The referees never want to be the centre of attention in games and it is disappointing that yet again they are put in that position.
”My main concern is about the unfounded and totally unwarranted remarks about Alan Wiley’s fitness. Not only does it dig at the heart of Alan’s professionalism where he is one of our top and longest-serving referees, but it also has an impact on all the others.
”I understand that Sir Alex made comments about other referees and said about European referees being fit as butchers’ dogs, comparing them with some referees from the UK who aren’t fit.
”All of the referees, all of the officials and all of the assistant referees pass stringent fitness tests at the start of the season. Prozone statistics are used to monitor their performance in every game. If Alan Wiley or any other referee were not fit they would not be refereeing.”