Managers warned over referee comments

Sir Alex Ferguson and Carlo Ancelotti have both been warned by the FA after making comments about referee Howard Webb.Manchester United boss Ferguson and Chelsea’s Ancelotti both made comments about Webb ahead of the Red Devil’s crucial 2-1 English Premier League win over Chelsea on May 8.

The Football Association (FA) said on Tuesday that the pair had broken the rule that forbids managers from talking about referees prior to a match.

“It was a minor breach but a breach nevertheless,” an FA statement said.

The chairman of the commission said Ferguson’s minor breach should act as a warning to all managers.

“This rule was brought in at the start of the 2009/10 season and this was reiterated formally to all clubs again on 21 October 2010,” the chairman said.

“This is a clear breach of the rule and it is the first such a matter has been placed in front of a commission.”

“As a result of this charge, the commission were aware of other occasions where pre-match comments were made by other managers.”

“In this case, it was considered to be a minor breach and it should be taken as a warning to all managers in the future that any such breach, even positive comments, are likely to result in a charge by the FA.”

Ancelotti was also warned for making similar comments, with the FA saying: “The Chelsea manager’s warning relates to his pre-match media comments prior to the Premier League match with Manchester United on May 8.”

United clinched their 19th league title with a 1-1 draw at Blackburn on Saturday, but it was the win over Chelsea on May 8 that put them well-clear in the title race.

Ferguson had made comments about Webb two days before the game, but was not critical of the official.

“We are getting the best referee. There is no doubt about that,” Ferguson said. “But (getting a bad decision) is definitely our big fear.”

Ancelotti’s comments were almost identical to his counterpart, saying: “Howard Webb is a fantastic referee, he has experience, he has skills, but this is football and sometimes when things are not good you speak about the bad decisions against you.”

Ferguson also received a five-game touchline ban and 30,000-pound fine for criticism of referee Martin Atkinson earlier in the year.