Chelsea boss Benitez repeats claim Ferguson influences officials

Interim Chelsea manager Rafael Benitez has repeated his belief that his Manchester United counterpart, Sir Alex Ferguson, exerts undue influence over Premier League officials, Sky Sports has reported.

Benitez originally made the claim in 2009, when he was Liverpool manager, after Ferguson was not sanctioned for appearing to verbally abuse referees and their assistants. The pair have had a tetchy relationship since the Spaniard’s days in charge at Anfield, between 2004 and 2010, with Benitez returning to English football at Chelsea in November 2012.

Speaking in an interview with the Times, Benitez said: “I always try to concentrate on my job, but at that time with Ferguson I was defending my club. I could see what was happening from my point of view, and maybe now a lot of people are seeing the same things. I will not talk too much about that because it’s obvious.

Ferguson has recently been contacted by the Football Association and asked to explain his comments regarding Simon Beck, one of the assistant referees during United’s draw with Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, after Beck declined to award a penalty when Wayne Rooney complained of a foul.

Robin van Persie had put United in front in the match with the league leaders maintaining the advantage until the third minute of injury time, when Tottenham midfielder Clint Dempsey grabbed a late equaliser.

Benitez added: “It’s a question for the FA what they do about it. What I said at that time was what I thought, and what I’m seeing now is similar.

It depends on the FA. I don’t know what they will do – it depends on them. At this moment in time I have enough things to do here, so I want to concentrate on my job.

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