Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been charged by the FA for improper conduct for his comments about referee Martin Atkinson after his side's 2-1 loss to Chelsea on Tueday.

Fergie was fuming after Atkinson failed to spot Chelsea goalscorer David Luiz's deliberate fouls on Javier Hernandez and Wayne Rooney while already on a yellow card. His frustration doubled when Atkinson awarded Chelsea what he believed to be a soft penalty which Frank Lampard eventually converted to hand Chelsea the win at Stamford Bridge.

The FA said in a statement said, The FA has today charged Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson with improper conduct relating to media comments. The charge relates to comments made about match official Martin Atkinson in post-match interviews following Manchester United's fixture with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday 1 March 2011.

Ferguson has until 4pm on Tuesday 8 March to respond to the charge.

Though he will be available to take charge of United's match against Liverpool on Sunday, chances are that he could miss four games considering a suspended sentence of two games for a previous accusation of referee Alan Wiley, in 2009.

Before the charge was made, Ferguson had insisted that he would not plead guilty. Therefore things look bleak for the 69-year-old two-time Champions League winning manager.

Ferguson had criticized Atkinson saying, You hope you get a really strong referee in games like this. It was a major game for both clubs and you want a fair referee, you know. You want a strong referee, anyway, and we didn't get that. I don't know why he's got the game. I must say that, when I saw who was refereeing it, I feared the worst.