Belfast Telegraph

Alan Green: Sir Alex Ferguson rant disguises Manchester United's bigger problem

Speaking about referees, it isn’t often that I side with Sir Alex Ferguson but, substantially, he was ‘right’ about Martin Atkinson’s performance at Chelsea last week.

Atkinson has ‘form’, having sent off more players and awarded more penalties this season than any other official and, for what it’s worth, I believe Chelsea should never have had a penalty and David Luiz should have been sent off. But Fergie, too, has ‘form’.

If he’d limited his criticism to the two incidents then I can’t see how anyone could reasonably disagree. However, he also said on MUTV (when he WAS speaking to them): “You want a fair referee, or a strong referee anyway — and we didn’t get that.” That is what’s unacceptable and, in the aftermath of Clattenburg/Wigan/|Rooney, it stank of inconsistency and hypocrisy.

The United boss isn’t above the law. Unfortunately, and in danger of being lost in the fog of the FA dealing with him, there’s the bigger problem of the standard of top refereeing in England.

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