Sir Alex Ferguson’s touchline ban

by Ben McAleer

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

A five-game touchline ban and a £30,000 fine is what the FA handed Ferguson following his criticism of Martin Atkinson in the wake of Manchester United’s 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at the beginning of March. Some would say it’s about time the FA took a stand against Ferguson but, in my opinion, this is the wrong way to go about it. The United manager has been unfairly banned for speaking his mind and, in some ways, speaking the truth.

The state of refereeing in the Premiership is un-categorically poor to say the least and, for me, the FA should change their stance on the treatment of referees. Bringing in the ‘Respect’ campaign has improved the protection of refs from players but when refs have bad games and managers criticise their performances, it is the managers who land in hot water with the ref getting away scot free (no pun intended).

As a non-Manchester United supporting fan, I am of the opinion that justice hasn’t been served, not by a long shot. The FA have made a scapegoat of Ferguson in order to further boost their superiority complex and cover their own backs by allowing the man in the middle to continuously under perform in a league that is widely regarded as the best in the world. If the FA can utilise video technology to look back on incidents that have taken place in the game then why can they not use the same technology to assess the performances of the men that are supposed to be controlling matches up and down the country.

With Ferguson set to begin his touchline ban after Manchester United’s Saturday against Bolton, it should be Atkinson that be serving an extended spell on the sidelines due to his performances in the middle. I see no reason as to why the FA cannot begin to ban referees for sub-standard actions if they can ban managers for speaking their mind. Granted, some would feel it is justice served that the FA have taken a stand against United and Ferguson but they have done it without either party doing anything wrong.

Either way, Ferguson would be best to let this ban slide. As it stands, he is going to miss United’s title showdown against Arsenal should their fixture against Newcastle not be re-arranged prior to their trip to the Emirates. However, should the Scot appeal his ban, and lose, his five games will be extended to six and, with a home match against Chelsea following the Arsenal match, it may not be worth the risk to Ferguson.

Follow Ben on Twitter @BenMcAleer1

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