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October 7, 2009

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Ferguson faces rap over rant, City held by Villa

ENGLAND'S Football Association wrote on Monday to Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson demanding an explanation of his criticism of a referee's fitness.

Ferguson's post-match criticism of referee Alan Wiley, in which he claimed he was not fit enough to officiate the game, deflected media attention from United's poor performance in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Sunderland.

Ferguson's side relied on Sunderland defender Anton Ferdinand's own goal in the second minute of stoppage time to salvage a draw at Old Trafford. Wiley blew the whistle immediately after the four minutes of stoppage time had elapsed, but Ferguson said he should have added 30 more seconds to allow for the goal celebration.

"I was disappointed with the referee, I must say," Ferguson said on United's in-house TV channel. "He didn't add any time on for the goal scored. He blew at four minutes and two seconds. He was actually walking up the pitch for the second goal needing a rest.

"He just wasn't fit enough for a game of that standard. 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."

In March 2009 Ferguson questioned Phil Dowd's competence after the referee sent off both Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney in United's 0-2 Premier League defeat at Fulham.

Also on Monday, ex-Manchester City captain Richard Dunne scored against his former club to earn Aston Villa a 1-1 draw in the Premier League.

Dunne, reluctantly offloaded last month by City after nine years, headed in Stephen Warnock's 15th-minute corner, outjumping former Villa midfielder Gareth Barry.

City remained in the ascendancy after Dunne scored, but didn't manage to equalize until the 67th when Emmanuel Adebayor cut the ball back for Craig Bellamy to score with a powerful shot from close range.


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