Sir Alex Ferguson has been charged with improper conduct by the Football Association after his criticism of referee Martin Atkinson.

Ferguson has until 4pm next Tuesday to respond to the charge, which relates to comments made about Atkinson immediately after Manchester United’s Premier League defeat at Chelsea.

(Manchester United remain title favourites in the latest Football Betting odds.)

The United boss was fuming at Atkinson over his failure to dismiss Chelsea goalscorer David Luiz for  fouls on Javier Hernandez and Wayne Rooney after the Brazilian had already been booked in Tuesday’s game.

Atkinson then awarded Chelsea what Ferguson considered a “soft” penalty when Yury Zhirkov fell under Chris Smalling’s challenge.

Although Ferguson’s comments to host broadcaster Sky Sports are not thought to have overstepped the mark, those to United’s in-house TV station MUTV have caused concern.

“You want a fair referee, or a strong referee anyway – and we didn’t get that,” said Ferguson in the aftermath of the 2-1 defeat.

“I must say, when I saw who the referee was I feared it. I feared the worst.”

My money’s on Ferguson gettting away without punishment. What do you think?