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Bruce hit with FA charge for Marriner comments

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce has been charged with improper conduct by the Football Association for his comments about referee Andre Marriner.

A statement on the Sunderland website read: ''Manager Steve Bruce has been charged with improper conduct by the FA. The charge relates to media comments made by Bruce about referee Andre Marriner following the 4-3 defeat to Manchester City on December 19.''

Marriner awarded City a penalty after Nyron Nosworthy bundled over Craig Bellamy while he also sent off Michael Turner for an apparent elbow on Gareth Barry.

The Sunderland boss slammed the official and asked him review the incidents, hold his hand up and apologise for getting them wrong on the day.

"I'm absolutely seething, because I actually did write to Keith Hackett about six weeks ago complaining about Andre Marriner's performance when he sent off Kenwyne Jones," Bruce told Sky Sports after the game. "I sent him a DVD of the Jones incident when he pushed off West Ham's Ilunga. The following week I see where Chimbonda, I don't want him to be punished, playing for Blackburn catches someone in the face and only gets a yellow card.

"I pointed that out and didn't hear anything about it. I do question whether it's worth it. The sending off, the penalty, they are a joke. Now we could have defended better as a team, but my team have given me everything they've got.

"All you need then is the referee to do his flaming job. Everybody in the ground could see as far as I'm concerned that both players, Barry and Turner, went in the shuddering challenge. Michael's done one thing and looked at the ball.

"He's not tried to intentionally elbow anyone. I hope he looks at it and says 'I was harsh there I've got it wrong', but I doubt it."

Bruce has until January 20 to respond to the charge.

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