West Ham's Allardyce contests charge over referee complaint

LONDON (AFP) - West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce has denied a misconduct charge over his comments following West Ham's FA Cup loss to Manchester United, the Football Association revealed on Wednesday.

Allardyce had until Wednesday afternoon to respond to the charge and the FA confirmed that he has asked for a personal hearing.

Allardyce criticised referee Phil Dowd for awarding Manchester United a penalty for handball in their 1-0 third-round replay win at Old Trafford on Jan 16 and denying West Ham a penalty for a similar offence.

"West Ham United manager Sam Allardyce has denied an FA charge of misconduct in relation to media comments," read an FA statement.

"It is alleged Allardyce questioned the integrity of the match referee and/or match officials in general, and/or implied that the match referee and/or match officials in general were motivated by bias; and/or brought the game into disrepute in contravention of Rule E3(1).

"Allardyce has requested a personal hearing, the date of which will be set in due course." Wayne Rooney scored Manchester United's winning goal in the replay but later missed a second-half penalty that was awarded after West Ham's Jordan Spence handled the ball.

United defender Rafael had escaped unpunished after the ball struck his hand inside the hosts' penalty area earlier in the game, and Allardyce claimed his side had been unfairly treated.

"There's no doubt about the difference between Rafael's handball and Jordan Spence's," Allardyce told television channel ITV after the game.

"Spence plays for West Ham and the away team, while Rafael plays for the home side at Old Trafford. You see it time and time again at Old Trafford." Allardyce returned to the theme in his post-match press conference.

"He (Dowd) couldn't find the courage to give it unfortunately, and he then went down the other end and there was a very similar incident with Jordan Spence and it was given," said Allardyce.

"That is a very big disappointment for me - the lack of consistency in that area. I think you have to have courage to play here and to referee here.

"But why are you a professional referee or player? To come to these places to do your job, and do it to the best of your ability.

"Phil Dowd is a hugely experienced referee and one of the top ones in this country, but today I have to say he did get it wrong."

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