Ferguson charged by the FA for rant at referee Atkinson

MANCHESTER UNITED’S Treble quest has been dealt a blow after manager Sir Alex Ferguson was charged with improper conduct by the Football Association.

Ferguson now faces a touchline ban for his comments, aimed at referee Martin Atkinson, following Tuesday’s controversial 2-1 defeat against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Ferguson, who has until 4pm on Tuesday to respond, said in his post match interview with the club’s in-house channel MUTV: “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.”

Ferguson was angry over Atkinson’s failure to dismiss Chelsea defender David Luiz for fouls on Javier Hernandez and Wayne Rooney after he had already been booked.

He was further upset when Chelsea were awarded what he considered a “soft” penalty when Yuri Zhirkov fell under the challenge of Chris Smalling.

The United manager has two matches of a four-game ban from last season hanging over him after remarks about referee Alan Wiley.

If that suspended ban is triggered, he will be banned from the touchline for United’s FA Cup quarter-final tie with Arsenal at Old Trafford on 12 March and the Premier League game with Bolton a week later. FA?chiefs could also extend the ban following his latest outburst.