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Ferguson: Slipping Standards and Refs to Blame

Sir Alex Ferguson has been charged by the FA after the half time spat last weekend with referee Mark Clattenburg. Kevin Davies was guilty of several dirty challenges on Patrice Evra in United’s recent clash with Bolton, but received nothing more than a yellow card. At half time, United were 1-0 down, and Ferguson launched a verbal attack on the referee.

Just last month, Clattenburg was guilty of possibly the worst refereeing performance in recent years during the Merseyside derby. Kuyt lept at former red Phil Neville with both feet raised, yet somehow, to the bemusement of everyone watching, Kuyt was allowed to remain on the field. In the same game, Jamie Carragher was guilty of two penalty offences, of which Clattenburg ignored both. The FA took no action on the referee and he was allowed to referee in the following Premiership fixture.

Today, Ferguson has accepted the charge, as there can be no real defence to verbally abusing a referee, regardless of their poor decisions. He has however launched an attack on the current standard of refereeing, claiming that what was promised in the pre-season has not been followed through by match officials so far this season.

“We will just accept it,” he said. “At the summer conference, [referees' chief] Keith Hackett was on about tackling from behind. He made a promise to the managers that tackles with raised feet off the ground would be a red card and that tackles from the back would be a red card. Standards must be slipping because there have been some bad tackles recently, not just in our games but in quite a few others. And what happens then is that if someone gets seriously injured? Who gets the blame? The referee gets the blame.”

Is Ferguson right? Have too many red card offences gone unpunished so far this season?

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. jsos says:

    fergie is right. it will be ref the blame, but that won’t be much consolation to the player with the broken leg. its a shady turn for the FA to keep clattenburg out there – performing as he is. how many more blatant mistakes can he be let to make?

  2. online sports guy says:

    I’d rather have physical games and less sendings off and bookings. I’m probably from the old school but I like to see games that flow and nothing annoys me more than fussy referees.

    I don’t care how bad the ref is as long as he is the same for both sides and the players know where they stand.

  3. UnitedRay says:

    I agree with the part that referee should not halt games too much but some of the blatant fouls by davies clearly shows that he has every intent to injure evra. These players should never be allowed. Having said that, our keano did the same to haafland if i remember his name correctly but then got a deserved red card

  4. LivetLetLive says:

    Hi Scott. Love the blog – thought you might like to read a short piece I wrote on Chelsea and their indiscipline. It was prompted by a piece on your blog a few weeks ago, and their performance at the weekend against west ham.

    p.s. I’m not a Utd fan, so you can be assured of impartiality!


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