Ferguson awaiting Obama call after ref controversy

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 28, 2012 at 11:47 am •  Published: December 28, 2012
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LONDON (AP) — Facing criticism once again from media and fellow Premier League managers, Alex Ferguson was half-expecting a reaction from the President of the United States, too.

The volatile Manchester United manager hasn't been short of influential critics following his latest outburst at a referee.

This time, he wouldn't have been surprised if it had even reached the ears of the White House.

"The press have had a field day out of it," Ferguson said of the discussion about his behavior. "They have addressed every possible avenue. The only one they have left out is Barack Obama. He is too busy."

It's hardly comparable to the "fiscal cliff" deadline currently occupying President Obama, but the Premier League's main talking point over the festive period has been the outspokenness of English football's longest-serving manager.

Days after claiming one of his players could have been "killed" by an opponent, the 70-year-old Ferguson delivered another rant Friday while defending himself for approaching match officials during a league match against Newcastle.

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said Thursday he was surprised to see Ferguson escape punishment for confronting referee Mike Dean, a linesman and the fourth official during United's 4-3 win at Old Trafford, after the visitors had been awarded a dubious goal.

It prompted an angry response.

"I carry that because I am the manager of the most famous club in the world," Ferguson said. "I am not like Newcastle, a wee club in the north east."

Ferguson claims he was "demonstrative but ... not out of order" and accused Pardew of hypocrisy, with the Newcastle manager having served a two-match touchline ban this season for pushing an assistant referee during a league match.

"Alan Pardew is the worst at haranguing referees," Ferguson said. "His whole staff, every game. He was at it the whole game on Wednesday.

"He shoves the referee and makes a joke of it and has the cheek to criticize me. It is unbelievable."

Some believe Ferguson — one of the most powerful voices in football — benefits from favorable treatment from authorities, yet the United manager did serve a five-match touchline ban following criticism of referee Martin Atkinson after a league match against Chelsea last season. He also was handed a suspended two-match ban that season for accusing another referee — Alan Wiley — of being physically unfit to referee a Premier League game.