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Sir Alex Ferguson to have hip surgery

MANCHESTER, England -- Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will have hip surgery this summer and may miss the start of next season.

The English champions confirmed widespread reports in the British media on Saturday that Ferguson will have an operation. It's scheduled to not interfere with the club's three-week preseason tour of Thailand, Australia, Japan and Hong Kong that ends July 30.

United didn't speculate about whether the 71-year-old Ferguson will be in the dugout for the season-opening Community Shield against either Manchester City or Wigan on Aug. 11.

United will play the first game of its title defense the following weekend.

Ferguson was taken ill at a function in Scotland nearly a year ago, although the nosebleeds he suffered were put down to the number of short flights he had undertaken. That forced him to miss preseason matches in Norway and Germany and he also sat out a mid-winter break in Qatar.

At United's Carrington training ground on Friday, Ferguson remained in high spirits and poured champagne for the gathered journalists who attended his news conference as he celebrated a 13th Premier League title.

Ferguson has spent 26 seasons in charge of United.

Information from Press Association and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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