Ferguson hit with five-game ban

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been handed a five-match touchline ban and a hefty fine for comments made towards a referee.

The Football Association’s disciplinary board imposed a three-match ban for Ferguson’s verbal attack on referee Martin Atkinson after his side’s 2-1 loss to Chelsea on March 1.

Following the loss, Ferguson said: “You want a fair referee or a strong referee anyway, and we didn’t get that.”

“I must say, when I saw who the referee was I feared it. I feared the worst.”

A suspended two-match ban was also activated after Ferguson accused referee Alan Wiley of being ‘not fit’ following a game in October 2009.

The United boss was also fined 30,000 pounds and will miss league games against Bolton, West Ham, Fulham and Everton, as well as the derby FA Cup tie against Manchester City.

An FA statement on Wednesday read: “At an independent regulatory commission today Sir Alex Ferguson was handed a touchline suspension for three matches and fined a total of 30,000 pounds.”

“The commission found the charge of improper conduct relating to media comments proven, following remarks made in relation to match official Martin Atkinson in post-match interviews after Manchester United’s fixture with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday March 1, 2011.”

“Furthermore the commission invoked a two-match suspended touchline ban, relating to a previous charge of improper conduct in relation to media comments made in October 2009.”

“Therefore Sir Alex Ferguson was ordered to a serve a five-match touchline ban commencing on Tuesday March 22, 2011.”

The league leaders are currently three points ahead of Arsenal, who have a game in hand.

Ferguson will have 48 hours to appeal the ban.