Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been charged with improper conduct by the Football Association after comments made on referee Howard Webb before his side's 2-1 win over league-rivals Chelsea.

Though the charge is by the book, it is nonsensical. Ferguson had 'praised' the referee before the match, saying Webb was the best man for the job. However, it had broken the FA Rule E3 which states that no manager is allowed to speak about a referee before a fixture will be played. Since Fergie's comments came two days before the match, it breached the law.

Ferguson had said, We are getting the best referee, there is no doubt about that. But (getting a bad decision) is definitely our big fear. We have the players to do it all right. We just hope it's our turn for a little bit of luck.''

Having just recently observed a five-match ban for comments involving referee Martin Atkinson after a 2-1 loss to Chelsea in March, what punishment Sir Alex will receive is unclear. However, Ferguson is free to appeal the decision and will have to respond to the charges by 1600 BST on May 16.