Ferguson issues apology after recommending referees ‘be shot’

Date published: Sunday 14th January 2018 12:01

Darren Ferguson insists he does not advocate violence against officials as he branded his controversial comments after Doncaster’s 1-1 draw against Plymouth as “tongue-in-cheek”.

Rovers were denied a last-minute penalty at the Keepmoat Stadium when James Coppinger was felled in the box, much to the ire of Ferguson, who launched a scathing attack on referee Andy Baines.

Ferguson was asked by BBC Radio Sheffield how he would like the Football Association to address the issue and the 45-year-old responded by saying: “The referees are part-time and the standard is appalling, their fitness levels are a disgrace, I’ve had enough of it.

“What can I do? Shoot them, it would be a good idea.”

The former Peterborough and Preston boss moved to resolve the matter on Sunday as he apologised for his remarks.

He said: “When asked after the game what I personally could do to see to raise standards, I said: ‘What can I do? Shoot them?’

“Although clear to everyone in the room that my comment was a tongue-in-cheek response, it is worth clarifying my comments were borne out of frustration and I absolutely do not advocate violence against officials.

“I am sorry for that comment and regret the wording, but as was clear from my post-match comments I felt the referee got some decisions wrong at key moments in the game.

“Referees have a tough job and I have a lot of respect for the challenges they face, but I would like to see more done to raise standards across the board and give them the best chance of getting decisions right.”

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