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Ferguson apologizes for Wiley outburst

  • Story Highlights
  • Alex Ferguson has apologized for his comments about referee Alan Wiley
  • The Manchester United manager had said referee Wiley was "unfit"
  • Ferguson made the comments after United's 2-2 draw with Sunderland
  • The Red Devils boss may still yet face action by the Football Association
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(CNN) -- Alex Ferguson has apologized for his comments about referee Alan Wiley after the Football Association requested an explanation of his description of the official as "unfit" following Manchester United's 2-2 draw with Sunderland.

Alex Ferguson

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson has apologized for his comments about referee Alan Wiley.

The FA have not yet had a formal meeting with Ferguson after the outburst following United's English Premier League clash at Old Trafford last weekend which could leave him facing a charge of improper conduct which could bring a touchline ban and a possible fine.

In a statement published on the Manchester United Web site Ferguson revealed his regret for his comments after the match.

Ferguson said: "I apologize 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.

"It was never my intention to bring the focus of intense media attention on Mr Wiley. I intend to contact him personally after I return from a trip overseas during this international break.

"I would wish it to be noted that I have always respected Mr Wiley's integrity and that 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.

"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."

Ferguson, who has been criticized by former referees for his comments, had said after the match: "He (Wiley) was not fit enough for a game of that standard. The pace of the game demanded a referee who was fit.

"He was not fit. It is an indictment of our game. You see referees abroad who are as fit as butcher's dogs. We have some who are fit. He wasn't fit."

Wiley, 49, is one of the elder referees in the Premier League but his fitness is subjected to weekly monitoring and an annual assessment.

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