Sir Alex Ferguson issues apology to Alan Wiley

Sir Alex Ferguson"I apologise to Mr Wiley and I have always respected his integrity," says United boss

Sir Alex Ferguson

Sir Alex Ferguson has apologised to referee Alan Wiley and the Football Association following his comments after Manchester United’s recent game with Sunderland.

Ferguson made a formal apology to Wiley and The FA for making his personal judgements in public after the match. He made the statement via United’s official website this morning.

Ferguson said: “I apologise to Mr Wiley for any personal embarrassment that my remarks may have caused and to The FA for going public with my views.

“In retrospect, I accept that this could be deemed as expressing those views in an inappropriate forum.”

Ferguson stated that he was highlighting an important issue in referees’ standard of fitness and did not intend to offend anyone.

“My only intention in speaking publicly, was to highlight what I believe to be a serious and important issue in the game, namely that the fitness levels of referees must match the ever increasing demands of the modern game, which I hope will now be properly addressed through the appropriate formal channels.”

He further commented that he regards Wiley to be a quality referee and wanted it to be made clear that he was not questioning his competency.

“I would wish it to be noted that I have always respected Mr Wiley’s integrity,” he said.

“I did not state or imply that Mr Wiley is a bad referee, that he was in any way biased, that decision-making generally during the game was poor, or that he missed any key incident during the game.”

He also said that he would be making a personal apology to the referee when he returns to the UK following a trip abroad: “I intend to contact him personally after I return from a trip overseas during this international break.”

Ferguson made the statement following a request by The FA to explain his post-match comments made on the day.

He may now escape punishment if it is felt to be a sufficient explanation, depending on how it is viewed by The FA.

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