Manchester United have “expressed their regrets” for Sir Alex Ferguson’s claim that FA had colluded with Arsenal over players’ punishments following incidents at Old Trafford.

Ferguson complained about the leniency of the punishments meted out following the brawl which occurred at the end of the goalless draw at Old Trafford in September. Arsenal were hit with fines totalling £275,000 and bans were issued to Lauren, Martin Keown, Patrick Vieira and Ray Parlour .

‘I think Arsenal will be delighted with the decision, that’s without question,’ Ferguson said at the time.

“I read they did a deal before they went in there and I think that was the suspicion right throughout the country that a deal was being done. It’s disappointing to read that kind of thing.

“It’s obvious they have been doing deals for years.”

A Manchester United statement read: “Manchester United have received assurances from the Football Association that there is no truth whatsoever in newspaper reports that the FA was involved in some kind of arrangement with Arsenal.

“Both Manchester United and Sir Alex Ferguson accept such assurances unreservedly and express their regrets to the FA for any comments made by Sir Alex which may have appeared to have called into question the integrity of the FA’s disciplinary process, or given credence to any suggestion of a lack of impartiality whether in relation to the Arsenal case or on any other occasion.”

The FA has announced it will not be taking any action against United over the matter. A statement on their website, read: “The Football Association has been in correspondence with Manchester United regarding newspaper comments in connection with disciplinary processes after last September’s Manchester United-Arsenal match.

“Manchester United, and their manager Sir Alex Ferguson, have confirmed that they do not question the integrity or impartiality of the FA’s disciplinary process or those entrusted with running it. “Having received these explanations, and after further assessment of the reports in question, the FA regards this matter as closed.”