Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been charged with improper conduct by the Football Association following the remarks he made about referee Alan Wiley’s fitness.
Ferguson made the comments following the 2-2 draw with Sunderland on 3 October.
The 67-year-old, who later apologised to Wiley, could face a hefty fine or a touchline ban if he is found guilty.
The referees’ union has called for Ferguson to be banned.
“Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been charged with improper conduct,” the FA said in a statement.
“The charge relates to media comments made by Ferguson about referee Alan Wiley following United’s match against Sunderland at Old Trafford on 3 October. “
Ferguson said following United’s draw with Sunderland at Old Trafford: “The pace of the game demanded a referee who was fit. He was not fit.”
He later said he was sorry for any personal embarrassment caused to Wiley, claiming the comments were to highlight “what I believe to be a serious and important issue in the game”.
Alan Leighton, head of officials’ union Prospect, told BBC Radio 5 live that Ferguson’s apology felt “half-hearted”.
Leighton later told BBC Sport: “We think that the attack on Alan Wiley was an attack on his professionalism, struck at the heart of his professionalism and was totally unwarranted.
“Since then we believe he has broadened out that attack to talk about the fitness of other referees and hasn’t retracted that main allegation that Alan was unfit.
“Some people suggest it is us picking on Sir Alex. I’m not interested in previous. If this had gone unchecked, other managers would have felt able to make similar slurs and that fundamentally brings the game into disrepute.”