Monday 5 October 2009

Alex Ferguson Verbally Abuses Premiership Referee Alan Wiley

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson accused referee Alan Wiley of being physically unfit, and could be charged by the FA with improper conduct.

Following Manchester United’s 2-2 draw with Sunderland on Saturday 3 October 2009, Ferguson claimed that Wiley took “at least 30 seconds every time he booked a player” because he needed a rest.

Referees, referee assessors and reasonable independent observers watching the match can observe for themselves that Wiley had a very good game. For instance, Wiley had presence, anticipated play well, kept close to the action, correctly applied advantage (Two examples: as Darren Fletcher slid and lunged at Sunderland’s Andy Reid, which soon created Sunderland’s second goal; and as Johnny Evans slid and fouled Sunderland’s Jordan Henderson, which created a good attacking opportunity), and issued six justifiable cautions (two being for Sunderland's Kieran Richardson, who was sent off for a second yellow card).

[Alan Wiley is a fit, experienced and highly capable referee]

Even BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson and other commentators said referee Alan Riley “had a good game”. However whether comments about referees are good or bad, referees understandably do not to take opinions from managers, players, fans and football commentators seriously. This is because, in general, these 'critics' do not have a complete understanding of refereeing and the Laws of the Game (see future post titled Why Referees Close Ranks).

There is no evidence that Alan Wiley is unfit or unable to perform his duties as a referee. Alex Ferguson is wrong to attack Alan Wiley and should be charged with improper conduct. A public apology would not go amiss either.

Ferguson queries referee fitness (BBC Sport)
Man Utd 2-2 Sunderland (BBC Sport)
FA Charge Liverpool's No 1 and No 2 with Improper Conduct
English FA Condemns Referee Intimidation

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