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?