Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has been charged with improper conduct by the Football Association following remarks he made about referee Martin Atkinson after his side’s 2-1 defeat at Chelsea this week.
“The charge relates to comments made about match official Martin Atkinson in post-match interviews following Manchester United’s fixture with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday,” the FA said on its website.
Ferguson criticised Atkinson after Chelsea came from behind to win the game with a Frank Lampard penalty awarded after Chris Smalling was ruled to have tripped Yuri Zhirkov.
Fergsuon was also angry that Chelsea’s Brazilian defender David Luiz, escaped a red card after a series of questionable challenges.
“It was a major game for both clubs and you want a fair referee,” Ferguson said in an interview after the game. “You want a strong referee anyway and we didn’t get that.
“I don’t know why he’s got the game. I must tell you, I must say that when I saw who was refereeing, I feared the worst.”
Ferguson has until March 8 to respond to the charge.
He also has two matches of a four-game ban from last season hanging over him after remarks about referee Alan Wiley.
If Ferguson’s suspended ban is enforced, he will be suspended from the touchline for United’s FA Cup sixth-round tie with Arsenal at Old Trafford on 12 March and the Premier League game with Bolton a week later.
United’s loss at Stamford Bridge cut their lead over Arsenal back to four points, with the Gunners having played a game less.