Neil Warnock is in hot water with the FA for suggesting their referees are biased, rather than just incompetent.
The Cardiff City manager has been charged by the Football Association following post-match comments made after Cardiff’s defeat to Chelsea.
But it is understood the claims by Warnock that the Premier League have the “worst officials in the world” are not those over which he could be punished.
Instead, it is the remarks made by the Bluebirds boss that his team might have fallen victim to a conspiracy brought about officials wanting to gain “pay back” against him for which he is in hot water.
Warnock has been charged with improper conduct after remarks made in relation to the officials’ performance in his side’s controversial 2-1 defeat to Chelsea on March 31.
Replays showed Cesar Azpilicueta was in an offside position when he scored Chelsea’s equaliser, while Warnock also believed Cardiff should have been awarded two penalties.
After the game, Warnock told Sky Sports: “It’s the best league in the world with probably the worst officials at the minute. I don’t know what Mike Riley does with his linesman, but he’ll probably get a game next week. They don’t understand what’s at stake.
“All the hard work over the last three weeks, and it’s none of our faults that an official can’t look across the line. It’s the most obviously offside I’ve ever seen. You just can’t believe it.
“Is it me? Is it payback time for me over the many years? Are they thinking, ‘let’s get him out of the way?’ I honestly don’t know.”
An FA statement confirmed Warnock has until April 16 to respond to the charge.
“Neil Warnock has been charged with three breaches of FA Rule E3,” the statement said.
“It is alleged that comments he made in a post-match interview with the BBC, and a post-match interview with Sky Sports, following the Premier League game against Chelsea on March 31, were improper in that they questioned the integrity of the Match Official and/or implied bias.
“It is further alleged that comments he made in a TalkSport Radio interview on April 1 constitute improper conduct and/or bring the game into disrepute.
“The Cardiff City manager has until 6pm on April 16 to provide a response.”
Warnock has other things on his mind for the time being – namely that he thinks the club need 10 points from their six remaining games to have any chance of preserving their Premier League status.
Warnock’s 18th-placed team visit Burnley on Saturday before facing Brighton, who are five points above them, in a relegation ‘six-pointer’ next Tuesday.
“They are so important the games now, we’re running out of time and points,” Warnock told a news conference on Friday.
Bournemouth, winless in three league games, face their south coast rivals Brighton on Saturday, and Warnock does not expect Eddie Howe’s side to lend Cardiff a helping hand in the relegation battle.
“I’m not optimistic about Brighton losing any points on Saturday. I don’t think Eddie will mind me saying that Bournemouth seem to have hit a bit of a brick wall at the minute,” he added.
“We have to take three points from our next two games. We need 10 points really, to have any chance whatsoever.”
Warnock said his players are ready to give everything during a daunting season run-in which includes matches against Liverpool and Manchester United.
“Everyone presumes we won’t get anything against Liverpool or Man United (in our later fixtures), I don’t see it that way,” Warnock said.
“I’ve never seen anything other than a fighting spirit. The dressing room has not been like that this season, even when we have had poor results.”