Sir Alex apologises to referee Wiley

Fergie launched a scathing attack on Wiley following their 2-2 draw with Sunderland at Old Trafford, claiming the referee was ‘not fit enough for a game of that standard’.

Fergie has now apologised to Wiley, but still wants referees fitness levels to be addressed.

In a statement issued on the club’s official website, Ferguson said: “I apologise to Mr Wiley for any personal embarrassment that my remarks may have caused and to the FA for going public with my views.

“In retrospect, I accept that this could be deemed as expressing those views in an inappropriate forum.

“It was never my intention to bring the focus of intense media attention on Mr Wiley. I intend to contact him personally after I return from a trip overseas during this international break.

“I would wish it to be noted that I have always respected Mr Wiley’s integrity and that I did not state or imply:

:: that Mr Wiley is a bad referee;

:: that he was in any way biased;

:: that decision-making generally during the game was poor, or

:: that he missed any key incident during the game.

“My only intention in speaking publicly, was to highlight what I believe to be a serious and important issue in the game, namely that the fitness levels of referees must match the ever increasing demands of the modern game, which I hope will now be properly addressed through the appropriate formal channels.”