Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Fergie Criticises Scudamore over Move to Protect Refs; Scudamore Is Criticised by Ferguson

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Fergie Criticises Scudamore over Move to Protect Refs; Scudamore Is Criticised by Ferguson

Article excerpt

Byline: Marco Giacomelli

SIR ALEX FERGUSON said today Richard Scudamore had too much time on his hands after the Premier League announced a crackdown on the abuse of referees.

From next season, managers and players will have to adhere to a new code of conduct, which aims to stop the "unacceptable" criticism of match officials.

The move -- launched by League chief executive Scudamore -- follows a number of high-profile incidents this season, culminating in Ferguson receiving a five-match touchline ban for his television outburst at referee Martin Atkinson.

But the Manchester United manager said today: "Richard Scudamore doesn't have a lot to do. He is trying to elevate the Premier League. That is good. That is his job. But I feel he is jumping off a high diving board here without thinking about it."

Ferguson's outburst at Atkinson followed last month's defeat at Chelsea when the referee awarded the hosts a controversial penalty and failed to send off David Luiz after a foul on Wayne Rooney.

The United boss earned a charge of improper conduct after he claimed: "You want a fair referee -- or a strong referee, anyway -- and we didn't get that."

Today he insisted he had done nothing wrong and said: "I don't think managers disrespect referees. I got done for what I considered a fair comment.

"They gave me a five-match ban.

That's fine. That doesn't mean I don't respect referees. It is a difficult job. I wouldn't referee a game. We do need them."

The League's campaign will run alongside the Football Association's Respect initiative.

Clarke Carlisle, chairman of the Professional Footballers' Association, welcomed the new rules but warned that everyone must be treated the same.

"As long as the guidelines are clear we will support them," said the Burnley defender.

"They need to make sure there are no grey areas so that referees can apply them consistently and players know where they stand. …

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