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Furious Fergie turns on refs

09 Mar 2008 - 12:37:26

Sir Alex Ferguson launched a furious tirade at official Martin Atkinson and referees' boss Keith Hackett after Manchester United were knocked out of the FA Cup by Portsmouth.

Ferguson was furious that United were denied a first-half penalty when Cristiano Ronaldo went down in the box under a challenge from Sylvain Distin in the 1-0 sixth-round defeat at Old Trafford.

The veteran Scot's mood was not improved by the second-half dismissal of Tomasz Kuszczak with the substitute goalkeeper's foul on Milan Baros leading to Pompey's winner from the penalty spot.

Afterwards, Ferguson hit out at the performance of Atkinson - and also that of the Professional Game Match Officials Board chief Hackett.

"It's absolutely ridiculous," he fumed. "I cannot explain it. Managers get sacked because of things like that and he's going to referee a game next week.

"Martin Atkinson will referee next week, no problem, but his performance today should not be accepted in our game.

"I agree with Sepp Blatter, the standards in our game as opposed to the continent - the tolerance level - is behind Europe. I think it's a big problem. They had great confidence to hang on knowing the referee was on their side.

"Lassana Diarra had eight or nine fouls in the match. It's incredible. I've got to agree with Arsene Wenger. Someone is going to get a serious injury in our game. He's had one himself with Eduardo.

"It's not a nice thing to talk about, but the treatment Ronaldo is getting, I'm worried about him.

"Keith Hackett is in a nice, comfortable position and does nothing really. I don't think he makes a contribution to the referees' performances in our country.

"That should be addressed. He's not doing his job properly. That guy (Atkinson) will go and referee next week no problem. You see his favourites always get the games and that's disappointing."


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