Ferguson facing fines over BBC boycott
Monday, August 23 2010, 09:49 BST
By Andrew Laughlin,
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is facing a series of fines from the Premier League after maintaining his boycott on speaking to the BBC.
Yesterday, Ferguson declined to speak to Match Of The Day 2 after Manchester United's draw with Fulham, despite weeks of negotiation with the Premier League and League Managers Association on his self-imposed ban.
United's chief executive David Gill had asked the management veteran to rethink his BBC boycott, which dates back to an unflattering Panorama documentary in 2004 on the business practices of his son Jason, who was then operating as a football agent.
Despite facing fines starting at £1,000, United officials told Match Of The Day staff before kick-off yesterday that the 68-year-old Scot would not speak with them.
Ferguson, who has an estimated personal fortune of £22 million, is not thought to be overly fazed by the threat of relatively minor fines and is sticking by his stance of waiting for an apology from the BBC, reports The Guardian.
The Premier League board will now set the level of fine, which will rise for every week that Ferguson disobeys a new rule forcing all managers to give interviews to broadcast rights holders.
The BBC opted against commenting on the ban, but Match Of The Day host Gary Lineker stated his belief that the size of fine could help Ferguson "make his mind up".
Speaking about the situation, Lineker said: "It's a shame. We would like him to speak to us because we respect him and his teams, and always have done.
"It makes no difference to the programme because it's action-led. But it does make a difference to the Manchester United fans. They are the ones missing out.
"I get letters saying: 'We never hear from Sir Alex,' and I have to explain. It's something he feels very strongly about, so what can you do?"
In a statement, the Premier League said: "The Premier League is disappointed that the BBC and Manchester United have, as yet, been unable to resolve the issue of Sir Alex Ferguson providing post-match interviews.
"We will, of course, continue to monitor the situation and offer any help deemed necessary by either party to try and help remedy the situation. However, this is a breach of Premier League rules and the board will consider the appropriate course of action at their next meeting scheduled for late September."