Chris Wilder charged by FA after bizarre sandwich rant

Julian Miller
Julian Miller
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Wilder charged by FA for post-match comments

Wilder accused a referee of disrespecting him by eating a sandwich while talking to him. 

News Insights

  • Wilder criticised referees after Sheff Utd’s 3-2 loss to Palace in January.
  • One of Wilder’s critiques was that a referee was eating a sandwich while he spoke to him.
  • The media have dubbed this incident ‘Sandwich-gate’.
  • Wilder has been charged by the FA over ‘Sandwich-gate’.

Chris Wilder’s criticism of an assistant referee for eating a sandwich while talking to him has got the Sheffield United boss in hot water with the English Football Association. The FA has announced that Wilder will be charged with improper conduct for his bizarre comments about the match official in question. 

Wilder’s comments came after a 3-2 defeat to Crystal Palace in January where he criticised match official Tony Harrington and his refereeing crew.

‘Sandwich-gate’ and Wilder’s comments

Despite his ‘proper football man’ credentials, Chris Wilder is known as a bit of an eccentric character. His eccentricity was on full display after his Sheffield United side were beaten 3-2 by Crystal Palace two weeks ago at the end of January. 

After the match, Wilder lashed out at referee Tony Harrington and his crew. “It's yet another ridiculous performance from the referee. I was told by a Premier League referee, who's as honest as the day is long, 'Get ready, because every tight decision will go against you, every 50-50 will go against you,’” said the Blades boss. 

He took specific issue with a play where Palace's Jean-Philippe Mateta crashed into Sheffield United goalie Ivo Grbic, who had to leave the match with a concussion. “Their boy takes our keeper out, we had to change keepers. It makes no odds if it's an accident or not, it's a yellow card. Every tight decision goes against us,” said a furious Wilder. 

While arguably out of line, Wilder's comments were not unusual for a Premier League manager who felt they got the wrong end of the stick from the referees. Then he mentioned sandwiches. 

Wilder explained that he went to speak to the referees after the match and felt disrespected by their conduct. 

I've been to see the referee and I've told him that,” Wilder explained after the match. “One of his assistants was eating a sandwich which I thought that was a complete lack of respect. Hopefully he enjoyed his sandwich while he was talking to a Premier League manager.

FA charges Wilder

Wilder’s sandwich comments were mocked widely by Premier League fans, pundits, and even other teams. The FA didn’t think they were that funny though. 

On Wednesday, the FA announced that it had charged Wilder with a breach of Rule E3.1 for his post-match comments and allegations of bias against his side. 

The FA alleges that Wilder’s comments “constitute improper conduct in that they imply bias/or attack the integrity of the referee, or referees generally.”

Chris Wilder has until February 16th to respond to the FA charges. 

Sheffield United preview

The Blades’ next match is against Brighton, which is more bad news for Chris Wilder. The betting sites have Brighton as big favourites in this one, and rightfully so.

Before Wilder rejoined his boyhood club, they had drawn 1-1 with Brigthon at the Amex in November. At the end of January, Brighton battered Sheffield Untied 5-2 in the FA Cup. Wilder also had issues with the referees after that match. 

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