Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is set to decide whether to plead guilty to his FA charge of improper conduct after his rant at a referee earlier this week.
Sir Alex faces a touchline ban of up to four games after his controversial outburst against referee Martin Atkinson following Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat at Chelsea.
Fergie will meet his legal advisors at the club’s training ground this morning when it will be suggested that he should accept the charge.
Should he choose to challenge it and is then found guilty, he could face an even stiffer punishment.
Ferguson, 69, who has until Tuesday to give the FA his answer, already has a suspended two-match touchline ban hanging over him for labelling ref Alan Wiley “unfit” last season.
An FA source said: “If he is found guilty on the latest charge that two-match ban would automatically kick in.
“Then the commission hearing would decide on a punishment for what he said about Martin Atkinson. So it could potentially be a longer ban.”
Fergie will be in the Anfield dugout for Sunday’s clash with Liverpool.
But it seems likely the Scot will be in the stands for next weekend’s FA Cup quarter-final against Arsenal.
And a likely four-game ban will follow if he pleads guilty that would see him miss key Premier League games against Bolton, West Ham and Fulham.
In the minutes after the Chelsea defeat Ferguson said: “It was a major game for both clubs and you want a fair referee, you know. You want a strong referee and anyway we didn’t get that.
“I don’t know why he got the game. I feared the worst when I saw who was refereeing.
“That is three years in a row where the referee’s decisions have changed the game down here. And that’s hard to take.”
He then cancelled today’s press conference ahead of Sunday’s Anfield showdown and has now been criticised by the referees’ union, who are demanding an apology.
United are already without the injured Rio Ferdinand and skipper Nemanja Vidic for this weekend’s clash, the latter is suspended after Tuesday’s red card against Chelsea.