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Should Sir Alex Ferguson Appeal His Five-Match Touchline Ban?

Sir Alex Ferguson isn’t the type of person you want to pick a fight with. After criticizing referee Martin Atkinson’s performance during Chelsea’s victory against Manchester United on March 1, Ferguson got into hot water with The FA today after he was handed a three-match touchline suspension. To make matters worse, the suspension has triggered a previous two-match touchline ban from a previous charge, which he had not served. So now Fergie faces five matches away from the touchline beginning on Tuesday, March 22. Plus, he has been fined £30,000 by The FA.

However, Ferguson has 48 hours to appeal the decision.

Ferguson appealed the initial charge of improper conduct a few days after the Chelsea loss. Some of the things that Ferguson said that got him into trouble with The FA in the first place were:

“You want a fair referee, or a strong referee anyway – and we didn’t get that.”

“I must say, when I saw who the referee was I feared it. I feared the worst.”

At the time, Ferguson allegedly went against the advice of Manchester United lawyers who recommended that he should not appeal. But appeal he did and Ferguson now faces the five-match touchline ban and a fine. If he decides to appeal these charges, then he may find himself in even deeper water.

What would you do if you were Sir Alex Ferguson? Would you appeal, or take the touchline ban and pay the fine? Vote below.

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  1. Pakapala

    March 18, 2011 at 11:22 am

    It is a sign of times when journalists and pundits act like fans and just repeat rubbish statements instead of doing their jobs of getting the story right and report it.
    Many times over, I keep hearing about why Fergie is banned? Are managers not allowed to comment on referees’ bad decisions?
    Well obviously history shows that this has nothing to do with comments made on referee’s bad decisions. This is about comment made on the integrity/impartiality of referees. Why is the FA quick to look into Fergie’s comments because he implied that the ref was not impartial, and that is a serious issue that cannot be taken lightly. Therefore if a manager makes a comment like that, he best be ready to back it up and file a formal complaint to the governing body, or else be ready to face some punishment. The FA has to protect the referees integrity; in fact a referee is required to decline calling a match if he has any tie to 1 team or someone in one of the teams. That is how serious this is. SO you cannot just throw comments about referee impartiality around lightly and not back them up with something. That is what Fergie got punished for.

  2. Guy

    March 16, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Regardless of what he does, I’m still not sure SAF isn’t just playing with everyone’s minds….for his own ends. He will turn this whole mess into a positive for his team. Count on it.

    • Troy

      March 17, 2011 at 3:50 am

      United’s record during SAF’s eight games missed due to bans is 6-0-2. They beat Everton, Portsmouth, Blackburn Rovers, Sunderland, Birmingham and Leeds and lost to Fulham (1-3) and West Ham (1-2). Not particularly concerned, United will rally. They usually do.

  3. farlieonfootie

    March 16, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    I doubt Sir Alex will appeal — a five game ban from the touchline is largely symbolic as he never seems to be down there anyway these days. The larger point to focus on here is that the FA is intent on muzzling any criticism of their referees, even when it’s plain for all to see — including the announcers and fans — that they’ve made mistakes, and sometimes show outright bias in their rulings. I however, have no problem calling them out, and have done so repeatedly througout the year on my blog: Martin Atkinson, Mike Dean and Lee Mason are terrible referees, and largely incompetent. And it’s not just United who’ve been affected — talk to fans of Arsenal, Stoke City, West Ham, etc. The quality of the refereeing in the EPL continues to go downhill, but woe to anyone who mentions it. It’s as if the FA is the Emperor — and guess what? Don’t mention that he has no clothes, or you’ll be banned. They are a total joke, shot through with corruption and ignorance. The League’s new motto should be the following: The EPL — A Strange Combination of the World’s Best Footballers and the World’s Worst Referees.

    • Trickybrkn

      March 16, 2011 at 9:36 pm

      You will get little argument that the refs seem scared to make calls, or just bad judgement. But the argument from the FA in muzzling managers and players is simple. They have a brand to protect. You can’t spout off on the hand that feeds you in public.

      Imagine if a lead designer of say an iPad came out after a bad day at the office and talked to the press… say about how the project manager overseeing the project was missing some fine design points that could delay launch… how fast would you find that person looking for work.

      Its really the same thing. FA is protecting the brand from its own members. If Alex and Avram et al have issue with the refs, sent a letter to the FA. don’t air your dirty laundry in public. or face up to the consequences. right?

      its that simple.

      its like the players that surround a ref. do they really think he’ll change his mind? if anything you’re warming yourself up for a nice yellow card for dissent.

  4. Steve

    March 16, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    No. He has nothing to challenge. He criticized a ref quite blatantly and publicly and that’s against the rules. No one else is allowed to do it, neither is he. Zero sympathy from me.

    Time to put on your big boy pants and realize you can’t weasel your way out of everything. Take the bans like a man, like an adult, and move on.

  5. Keith

    March 16, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Can they really extend the ban if someone challenges it? That’s absurd. People should be allowed to appeal without risking a prolonged ban. I can’t think of a sport in the US where that happens.

    I would protest that rule and not the original ban if I was SAF.

  6. Keith

    March 16, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    I hate Sir Alex but managers should be able to fight and appeal for their team. They should be able to try and play the officials. Nothing he said was offensive, racist, or below the belt.

    I think it’s stupid to interview managers and players 5 minutes after a tough loss. They should be allowed to go to the locker room, shower, change and cool down. It’s the FA’s fault that this happened, what else can they expect?

    • Steve

      March 16, 2011 at 8:22 pm

      Agreed on all points, but that isn’t really the issue at hand.

  7. FA R SCUM

    March 16, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    oh sure, all the ABU’s come out whenever we lose or get a headline. it’s all fair now, but when blatant poor calls happen to YOUR club, you’ll be moaning all day and night. i rarely see any Manchester United supporters on this site. they probly avoid reading the comments section on this site like i do because i want to go out and assault people after reading the ABU rubbish that is posted on this site.

    let’s not forget who the fa chairman is. hmmmmmmm

    • ThompsonLives

      March 16, 2011 at 5:39 pm

      Who is “we?” If you’re referring to Manchester United, then I have two questions:

      1. Which position do you play?
      2. Are you as big a wanker as the rest of your mates?

  8. Terry

    March 16, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Fergie will not take this sitting down. He will appeal and chances are he will get a lower ban. As long as Gill is part of the FA, I think he will get the suspension of 5 games brought down to 2 or 3 games.

    Fergie will use this to bring the squad together for the run-in to the season. This will actually ignite the squad and will help United.

  9. milotiny

    March 16, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    No wonder they call him a “purple nose” – his nose is purple. 🙂

  10. Earl Reed

    March 16, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    I assume that ban doesn’t include the chainsaw in the locker room, right?

    • Keith

      March 16, 2011 at 6:15 pm

      +1. Enough said.

  11. moose9t9

    March 16, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    He can work in his wrigleys gum contract from another seat in the stadium. I don’t think this will hurt much because you rarely see him saying anything. So maybe he can give orders via text for 5 matches. I wouldn’t risk an appeal backfiring and getting an extension.

  12. SMAMS

    March 16, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    I’m an Arsenal fan but I agree, these refs now days are pure sh*t. Their always doing little shit that always goes against them. Man U did get cheated during that Chelsea game and Arsenal got cheated during the Barca game, but whats new. Fifa/uefa are both corrupt piece of shit companies, One day i hope every team affiliated in these new match fixing schemes get worse then what happen to Juventus. In all serious between this and no goal line technology, It just shows how much they want to keep control of what happens in football.

  13. Gaz Hunt

    March 16, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Can’t help but mention that this ban makes me smile.

    Maybe his getting made an example of will tone the arrogance down a bit.

  14. Up the Chels!

    March 16, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    The ref’s are only becoming worse if you are a United fan. The ref’s are FINALLY learning that Man. United are just as punishable under the rules of the game as any other team. There is no reason to fear Sir Alex anymore. The rules of the FA are FINALLY being applied evenly.

    On a different note, I’m still surprised that Sir Alex only got three games for this one. You would think that his fifth charge in less than five years would get him a larger penalty. Maybe that would get it through to him that you can’t criticize the referees after the game, or if you are going to, you have to be judicial about it.

    Anyone ever notice that these things always come up with Sir Alex after his team plays a DREADFUL game? He is a master at diverting attention away from his team’s awful performance and on to him.

    • Dave C

      March 16, 2011 at 2:32 pm

      He is a master at diverting attention away from his team’s awful performance and on to him
      i.e. deflecting public attention from his players, just like Mourinho did/does.

      • jm

        March 16, 2011 at 5:08 pm

        Yep, I think Dave C is exactly right. Wenger does the same thing. It’s good managing really – to realize that you can manage your team through the press.

        It’s also why paying attention to what managers say to reporters is typically a waste of time!

        • [OPTI]Madschester United

          March 17, 2011 at 12:44 am

          The refs are worse — no doubt about it and it started when Abramovich and big-money tycoons got involved…

          Other clubs agree, even Wenger:
          Tony Pulis – “Surprised to see [Dean] back on one of our games with his record against Stoke.” No punishment.

          Roberto Mancini – “It’s normal – the big club usually has different treatment.” No punishment.

          Sir Alex Ferguson – “[You] want a fair ref, a strong ref anyway, we didn’t get that. When I saw who was reffing it I feared the worst.” 5 match ban, £30k fine.

          • Juan

            March 17, 2011 at 1:20 am

            Typical Man u fan with the rose colored glasses. SAF is so innocent he never talks about of his ass to get his way before during and after the games. No not him. Hes the most humble manager ever. Never freezing out the media when he doesnt get his way. Blaming chelsea ony makes your arguement worse

  15. [OPTI]Madschester United

    March 16, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    I don’t understand how a system can operate whereby it punished appeals and inquiry… unless it is a corrupt system.

    Of course, the fact that the refs are becoming worse every season seems to be a subject never handled by anyone.

    • Dave C

      March 16, 2011 at 2:30 pm

      It’s pretty common in many disciplinary environments – the principle is intended to discourage frivolous appeals. If you’ve ever had a parking ticket, you’ve probably been in a similar situation.

  16. jdoe

    March 16, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    I hope he does so that when his appeal fails he’d get a few additional match bans.

    • soonerscotty

      March 16, 2011 at 11:09 pm


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