FA charges Ferguson
The Football Association (FA) on Tuesday charged Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson after he criticized the performance of an assistant referee in a game against Tottenham Hotspur earlier this month. “The FA has today [Tuesday] charged Sir Alex Ferguson in relation to post-match media comments made following Manchester United’s game at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday 20 January 2013,” an FA statement said. “It is alleged the Manchester United manager breached FA Rule E3 in that he implied that the match official was motivated by bias. Ferguson has until 4pm on Friday 1 February 2013 to respond to the charge.” Ferguson hit out at assistant referee Simon Beck for failing to award United a penalty after an apparent foul on Wayne Rooney by Spurs defender Steven Caulker during the 1-1 draw between the sides. Speaking on Friday, Ferguson defended his right to criticize match officials, adding that the FA had singled him out for punishment. “We are high-profile and the profile of me is such that the FA naturally panic as soon as the press criticize them,” he said.
Arsenal freeze ticket prices
Premier League club Arsenal have put ticket price rises on hold for next season after complaints from fans about their cost and the club’s failure to win a trophy since 2005. “The move follows a full review by the Arsenal Board which included an assessment of the current economic environment and feedback from fans’ groups,” the London club said in a statement on their Web site. Arsenal season tickets cost up to ￡1,955 (US$3,100), making them the most expensive in the Premier League, a BBC survey published last year showed. That covers seven European or FA Cup games, as well as the Premier League campaign. Supporters’ groups across the country are lobbying for a cap on ticket prices for away fans. Many are also questioning why admission is so much cheaper at matches in Germany’s Bundesliga.
Al-Fayed clears Fulham debt
Premier League club Fulham are now clear of debt after owner Mohamed al-Fayed converted loans totaling more than ￡200 million (US$314.1 million) into shares in the club. Al-Fayed, the former owner of the Harrods department store, bought Fulham in 1997 and has seen them establish themselves in the Premier League. “Following the previous season’s announcement of record profits, the most significant development is the Club ending the financial year with no debt, having repaid any external indebtedness and Chairman Mohamed Al Fayed converting his previous loans to the Club into equity,” the club said on their Web site. Fulham made an operating profit of ￡1.2 million in the 2011 and 2012 season, down from more than ￡5 million the previous year.
Canada, US in 0-0 friendly
Canada and the US played out a goalless draw on Tuesday in an international friendly designed as a preparation match for the US ahead of World Cup 2014 qualifiers. The US stretched their unbeaten streak against Canada to 16 matches, winning eight and drawing eight, leading the rivalry 13-8 with 11 drawn. Canada last defeated the US in 1985. The US will open a six-team, round-robin North American qualifying tournament in Honduras on Feb. 6. Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and Jamaica are also chasing one of three berths on offer, with the fourth-placed team facing the Oceania winner for a spot in Brazil next year.