Pep Guardiola facing £60k FA fine over comments about referee Anthony Taylor before derby

The City boss talked about Wythenshawe whistler Taylor in the build-up to the 3-1 derby win over United.

And while Guardiola was far from critical, he could receive the same improper conduct charge that saw Newcastle’s Rafa Benitez fined for mentioning Andre Marriner before last month’s game with Crystal Palace.

FA chiefs have contacted Guardiola for his observations after being alerted to the comments published on Sunday.

In his pre-match briefing, Guardiola was pushed on Taylor’s appointment, amid claims from City fans that he is a closet United supporter – despite declaring himself a follower of Altrincham.

The City boss said: “Mr Taylor is from Manchester, but do people know the team he supports?

"Mr Taylor is going to try and make a good game.

"All of England and all of Europe is going to watch us. The ref doesn't want to make a mistake.

"But, if he is a fan of United or a fan of City – everyone can be a fan of whoever he wants. So, no problem."

However, Guardiola’s comments were in direct contravention of FA regulations, confirmed at the start of the season, which prevent managers making any pre-match comments about the referee.

The rules state: “Any pre-match comments including those of a positive nature concerning the appointed match official, whether the official is identifiable by name or implication, will be deemed as improper conduct.

“This goes back to the fundamental principle of protecting the integrity of the game at all costs.”

The City chief has until 6pm on Thursday to respond but while Guardiola may argue he was replying to a direct question and was not critical of Taylor, his comments appear a clear breach of the regulations.

FA disciplinary beaks set a new benchmark when Benitez was fined £60,000 last month for suggesting he expected Marriner not to be influenced by Wilf Zaha’s complaints about being targeted by defenders.

And Guardiola seems in line for the same punishment – although the derby victory and 12 point advantage over United will soften any financial blow.

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