On January 29, the FA decided to charge Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson because of his criticisms of linesman Simon Beck during a recent match at White Hart Lane:
"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."
- FA | Source: FA official site
As anticipated, the gaffer has denied the charge according to a statement from the FA:
"Sir Alex Ferguson has denied an FA charge of misconduct in relation to post-match media comments made following Manchester United’s game at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday 20 January 2013. 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 requested a paper hearing, the date of which will be set in due course."
Here were the original post-match comments that alarmed the FA in the first place:
"It was a clear penalty and he was definitely brought down. He put his leg in and the linesman was right there facing it. I thought the linesman had a very poor game. I thought he was disappointing...
We got a bit of a bad break. I think we should have had a throw-in down our side of the pitch but that linesman never gave us a thing all day. For me, it was a poor performance by him. He never saw the penalty kick from Wayne Rooney and some other decisions. We remember him well from his time at the Chelsea game when [Didier] Drogba was three yards offside and he gave onside. I think he had a shocking game today and I’m disappointed in his performance, I really am. I think he has had a bad game and we never got anything from that side of the pitch."
- Ferguson | Source: Sky Sports
If Ferguson faces any sort of touchline ban, it won't be the worst thing in the world. It's not nearly as bad as a key player serving an equivalent suspension. A manager can still prepare his side during training, set the initial tactical plans, and if we're not being naive, he can get instruction to the dressing room at half-time for any needed adjustments during breaks as well -- and he likely can send instruction down to the touchline late in matches if he really wanted. Perhaps the FA will make an example of the manager with the highest-profile in England. Perhaps they won't. Either way, it's not too much to be worked up about.