Alex Ferguson has said he sympathises with Liverpool over the decision to impose a 10-game ban on Luis Suarez for biting Branislav Ivanovic.
The Manchester United boss believes the Merseyside outfit can feel “aggrieved” at the sanction and says it reminds him of the nine-month ban the Football Association handed to Eric Cantona after the Frenchman kicked a fan at Selhurst Park in 1995.
According to the Scot, the FA promised not to ban the player, provided the club did so themselves.
However, despite United putting a four-month ban in place, Ferguson says the authorities went back on their word, something which Ferguson still finds hard to believe.
He said: “I think back to Cantona and I have to say that a nine-month ban doesn’t equate to a 10-match, does it? I can understand how Liverpool are aggrieved at it, I must say that.
“I keep going back to [Cantona] – the FA done us that day, we would never allow that to happen now. I would never have listened to them in the first place saying that if ‘you make your punishment we’ll be happy’.
“We did that, gave him a four-month ban and then they turned round two or three days [later, saying]
‘right, we’re charging him.’ We would never allow that to happen again at this club.”
While David Davies, the FA’s spokesperson at the time, still maintains no assurances were given on the issue and never spoke to Ferguson about it, the United boss believes the episode may have influenced the decision of Anfield chiefs with regards to a club ban.
“I’ll bet they’re glad they didn’t. It didn’t work with us, that’s for sure,” he said.
“David Davies promised us that, if we did it, there’d be no more action taken – bloody hell. If you think about it – a nine-month ban, it’s quite incredible, I still can’t get round that.”