A day after Sir Alex Ferguson was told he would not be punished for his confrontation with the referee Mike Dean, the Football Association has written to Roberto Mancini and Harry Redknapp, asking them to explain their public criticisms of match officials during the Boxing Day programme of Premier League fixtures.
The Manchester City and Queens Park Rangers managers have three days to respond and the FA – which takes a dim view of managers calling into question the capability of referees and linesmen – will then decide whether to bring any charges relating to improper conduct.
Mancini criticised the performance of Kevin Friend during Manchester City's 1-0 defeat at Sunderland, suggesting that "maybe the referee ate too much for Christmas". Mancini was angry with what he felt was a foul on Pablo Zabaleta in the buildup to Adam Johnson's winner and said it was "impossible two men couldn't see it," referring to Friend and his linesman.
Redknapp was left fuming by what he called two "scandalous decisions" in QPR's 2-1 home loss to West Bromwich Albion. He felt the visitors' second goal should have been disallowed for a nudge on his goalkeeper, Rob Green, and that his side should have been awarded a penalty when Liam Ridgewell appeared to handle late on.
"I asked the linesman how he didn't see that penalty – it was the most blatant handball you could wish to see but he said it was murky down there in that corner and he couldn't make it out," Redknapp said. "Maybe he should go to Specsavers.
"It's just poor refereeing. I had him [referee Chris Foy] at Stoke last year when I was Tottenham manager and he let three penalties go, so what's the point in talking to him? We have had two terrible decisions that have cost us dearly."
The FA has taken tough action in the past when managers have questioned the capability of officials. Ferguson was handed a four-match touchline ban, two of which were suspended, and a £20,000 fine for criticising Alan Wiley's fitness three years ago, despite later apologising.