Fergie asks for personal hearing

The Football Association could hand Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson a touchline ban after he admitted a charge of improper conduct for the comments he made about referee Alan Wiley's fitness.

The 67-year-old Scot said after his team's 2-2 draw with Sunderland at Old Trafford earlier this month that Wiley was not fit enough to officiate the game.

Ferguson has requested a personal hearing with the FA but could be fined or banned from the touchline.

Ferguson had said after the game: "The pace of the game demanded a referee who was fit. He was not fit."

He later apologised for any embarrassment his comments had caused to Wiley, but claimed he hoped his words would highlight "what I believe to be a serious and important issue in the game".

Ferguson has come under renewed attack following his criticism of Andre Marriner's display in Sunday's clash between last season's Premier League champions and Liverpool.

Ferguson was furious that Marriner sent Nemanja Vidic off in the closing stages of his side's 2-0 defeat, but opted to keep his cards in his pocket when Jamie Carragher felled Michael Owen.

The official also waved away a penalty appeal from the visitors when Carragher and Michael Carrick clashed in the box.

He inimated that Marriner was not experienced enough to referee such a high-profile match.

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