The union for referees has demanded that the Football Association get tough with the Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson for accusing referee Alan Wiley of being unfit and banish him permanently.
Alan Leighton,the national secretary of Prospect,says banning Ferguson from the touchline or giving him a hefty fine would have no effect.
He wants the FA to “grab the nettle” and banish him for good.
The Sun quoted Leighton as saying: “I don’t know what Sir Alex earns but a small fine or a touchline suspension would be like water off a duck’s back to him. So,I think,there has to be some recognition that this is a serious allegation that needs to be properly dealt with and punished severely.
“There are issues around suspension from the job that would be new territory that hasn’t happened before,but I think the FA has to grab the nettle on this one. There has to be some punishment that is going to stop people from doing this or otherwise we are going to see more and more of it. We have to talk about punishments that are going to really lead to a change in behaviour,” he added.
Leighton insisted: “I think the FA has to act on this. There is no future with the Respect campaign if the FA don’t act. I see the FA have asked him to explain his comments. I’m not really sure what requires explanation. I would like to see the FA act quickly to restore Alan’s reputation and ensure referees get some protection from what seems to be a growing approach that managers feel they can abuse them,” Leighton further said.
Ferguson accused Wiley of being unfit to referee United’s clash with Sunderland at Old Trafford last Saturday.
The 18 full-time officials,who earn a 50,000 pounds basic salary from the Professional Game Match Officials Board,are put through their paces once a year with a tough workout at Warwick University and constantly monitored.
To earn his whistle,a ref must:
Complete six 40m sprints in 6.2sec or less with a 30sec break in between.
After a 10min break,do 20 repetitions of running 150m in 30sec,then walking 50m in 35sec.
Train each week throughout the season and send in their data and match data recorded by heart monitors to PGMOB fitness instructors.