Touchline ban fear for Doncaster Rovers manager Darren Ferguson after ref rant

Darren Ferguson on the touchline against Plymouth.  Picture: Marie Caley
Darren Ferguson on the touchline against Plymouth. Picture: Marie Caley

Darren Ferguson is bracing himself for a fine and potential touchline ban following his extraordinary post-match referee rant.

The Scot blew his top after Doncaster Rovers’ 1-1 draw with Plymouth Argyle, blasting the standard of officials in the EFL as “disgusting” and labelling their fitness levels “a disgrace”.

Ferguson claimed his side were denied “the most blatant penalty you will ever see” by referee Andy Haines in the dying stages when James Coppinger was felled by Sonny Bradley.

He also thought Andy Butler was fouled in the build-up to Ryan Edwards’ equaliser and accused a linesman of “laughing at the end of the game”.

Ferguson has since apologised for what he called a “tongue-in-cheek response” to a question from BBC Radio Sheffield about what could be done to improve standards, to which he replied “What can I do? Shoot them?”

The 45-year-old’s comments are being investigated by the Football Association.

Ferguson has called for the game’s governing body to do more to improve the standard of refereeing in the EFL.

He went on to say: “My opinion is very true, very honest, it is correct.

“This job is hard enough as a manager of a football club as it is.

“If it was a one off, fine, but when it is so clear and you have people actually looking at it and people laughing about it, I am obviously going to get frustrated and angry.

“What are the repercussions going to be? They are going to fine me, what for telling the truth?

“Well maybe they need to look at the way the system works and rather than fine managers, why don’t they do something about what happens out there, in terms of the referees?

“At the moment I don’t see that happening. A letter of apology is no good to me, it is no good to anyone.

“They need to be fitter and I am not being disrespectful there but if we talk about the way the game is now, players are athletes, then the referees have to get up to speed.

“The thing for me, and you may get into trouble for that, it was so blatant, the linesman was staring right at it [the penalty decision].

“You have got to give the decision. The referee has people in front of him so you can maybe excuse him but I didn’t think he was far enough up the pitch, he was a good 25 yards away from it.

“The linesman is staring right at it, whether he has bottled it or not I don’t know. But his job is to make decisions.

“Like everyone else, we have to make decisions and we have to be accountable for what we do, whether it is good or bad.“