LONDON // Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson accepted a charge of improper conduct today following his criticism of referee Alan Wiley, and could now face a touchline ban. After his side drew 2-2 with Sunderland on October 3, Ferguson said after the match that Wiley was not fit enough to handle the game. Although he later apologised, the Football Association (FA) charged him with misconduct. The FA said today that Ferguson had accepted the charge and requested a personal hearing. No date has yet been set.
Ferguson could be fined, but the referees' union has called for him to be handed a touchline ban. Ferguson has received bans in the past for criticising referees Mark Clattenburg and Mike Dean. After the draw with Sunderland, in which an own goal deep into injury time by Anton Ferdinand salvaged a point for United, Ferguson criticised Wiley in interviews immediately following the match. "He just wasn't fit enough for a game of that standard," Ferguson said. "The fitness of the players, the pace of the game demanded a referee who was fit. He took 30 seconds to book a player, I think he's taking a rest writing down names on his card."