Darren Ferguson insists he does not advocate violence against officials as he branded his controversial comments after Doncaster’s 1-1 draw against Plymouth as “tongue-in-cheek”.
Rovers were denied a last-minute penalty at the Keepmoat Stadium when James Coppinger was felled in the box, much to the ire of Ferguson, who launched a scathing attack on referee Andy Baines.
Ferguson was asked by BBC Radio Sheffield how he would like the Football Association to address the issue and the 45-year-old responded by saying: “The referees are part-time and the standard is appalling, their fitness levels are a disgrace, I’ve had enough of it.
“What can I do? Shoot them, it would be a good idea.”
The former Peterborough and Preston boss moved to resolve the matter on Sunday as he apologised for his remarks.
Ferguson faced a backlash over his comments (Getty)
He said: “When asked after the game what I personally could do to see to raise standards, I said: ‘What can I do? Shoot them?’
“Although clear to everyone in the room that my comment was a tongue-in-cheek response, it is worth clarifying my comments were borne out of frustration and I absolutely do not advocate violence against officials.
“I am sorry for that comment and regret the wording, but as was clear from my post-match comments I felt the referee got some decisions wrong at key moments in the game.
“Referees have a tough job and I have a lot of respect for the challenges they face, but I would like to see more done to raise standards across the board and give them the best chance of getting decisions right.”
An EFL spokesman said: “The EFL has noted the comments made by Darren Ferguson following his side’s draw with Plymouth Argyle on Saturday 13 January and his post-match remarks have been passed by PGMOL (Professional Game Match Officials Limited) to the FA for their consideration. We further note the clarification issued by Mr Ferguson on Sunday morning.
“Managers and officials at EFL clubs are given guidance each season so that they are fully aware of their responsibilities in regard to commenting on match officials and their performance.”