Leighton prepared to go further

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Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson's two-match touchline ban for criticising referee Alan Wiley may not yet be the end of the matter.

Alan Leighton, national secretary for referees' union Prospect, said there was a possibility they could still pursue legal action after Ferguson said the official "just wasn't fit enough" to take charge of United's 2-2 draw with Sunderland last month.

"One of the things we are saying is, is there a case these comments are defamatory?" he told Press Association Sport.

"I intend to talk to Alan Wiley to see if he wants to sue on the issue.

"We need to take a few steps back and see what has happened here and I would like to see more about the judgement.

"We never wanted to get lawyers involved in but if referees don't feel they are being protected by the regulatory bodies and someone says something defamatory sooner or later someone is going to take action over it.

"We are going to talk to the relevant authorities to see what it means for the future.

"I'll also talk to our members. I think there will be a concern this isn't an appropriate way to send a message that these comments were wholly unacceptable."

Ferguson's ban means he will miss matches at home to Everton and away at Portsmouth.

His punishment also includes a further two-match ban, suspended until the end of the 2010/11 season, and a £20,000 fine.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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