• Champions League

Pellegrini hit with UEFA charge over referee comments

ESPN staff
February 21, 2014
Manuel Pellegrini apologised for his outburst on Friday © Getty Images

Manuel Pellegrini has been charged by UEFA for misconduct over comments he made about Swedish referee Jonas Eriksson following Manchester City's 2-0 defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League.

Pellegrini was angry with Eriksson, who sent off City's Martin Demichelis and awarded a penalty for a challenge that he thought was outside the box, while arguing his side should have been awarded a free-kick for a tackle on Jesus Navas second earlier.

He said after the game on Tuesday: "From the beginning I felt the referee was not impartial to both teams. I think it was not a good idea to put a referee from Sweden in such an important match. A big game with two important teams, that kind of game needs a referee with more experience."

Pellegrini backtracked on his comments when he gave his news conference on Friday to preview City's Saturday game against Stoke and insisted he did not accuse Eriksson of being biased.

Then he said: "Maybe I said some things I didn't mean in that way so I apologise for what I said. I didn't make any serious accusations about anyone, not about the referee, not about UEFA, not about anyone.

"He decided the game, but not with the intention of benefiting Barcelona or damaging Manchester City. He was in a bad day. I didn't say he was a bad referee, that he was not honest or that he cannot referee in UEFA [competitions]."

However, that was not enough to prevent UEFA from charging him.

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