Pellegrini set to escape FA action over ref comments

Ian Watson

Manuel Pellegrini: His men face PSG

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini will not face action from the Football Association over his comments about referee Mark Clattenburg.

Pellegrini expressed his frustration with Clattenburg after City’s 2-1 Premier League defeat to Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Spurs opened the scoring via a penalty controversially awarded when the referee judged Raheem Sterling to have been guilty of handball, even though Danny Rose’s cross appeared to strike the forward’s back as well as his arm.

Pellegrini told the BBC after the game: “It was a penalty that Clattenburg wanted to sign for and he gave the sign. It was absolutely the wrong decision.”

It was the second match against Spurs this season in which Clattenburg had frustrated City, after two controversial offside decisions in the 4-1 loss at White Hart Lane in September.

And Pellegrini added in his post-match press conference on Sunday: ”Unfortunately for us it was the same referee as when we lost against Tottenham (before) with two clear goals offside.”

When asked about the appointment of Clattenburg, Pellegrini said: “For me I don’t think it is a good decision to have the same referee.”

Press Association understands the FA has looked at Pellegrini’s comments and opted against taking action, having considered them not to be a clear breach of its rules with regard to implying bias on the part of an official, questioning their integrity or making a personal criticism.