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Fergie decides against appeal

Sir Alex Ferguson will be on the touchline for Manchester United's crucial game against Arsenal after he opted not to appeal against his five-game suspension and requested that it start immediately.

• Fergie "disappointed" with ban
• Rooney: No feud with Fergie
• Fergie banned for five games
• Lomas: Fergie won't change spots
• Ancelotti: Ban too harsh
• Forum: Is the Fergie ban fair?

Ferguson was handed the suspension on Wednesday, and fined £30,000, as a result of his criticism of referee Martin Atkinson following United's Premier League defeat at Chelsea.

Having requested a personal hearing in an attempt to clear his name, Ferguson was critical of the FA's subsequent punishment, telling a press conference on Thursday: "It is disappointing. It is the only industry where you can't tell the truth."

However, Ferguson has decided not to appeal the ban and has been granted permission to start the suspension immediately, meaning he will not be on the touchline for Saturday's game against Bolton, or the following games against West Ham and Fulham in the league, as well as the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City.

Thursday's news does mean that his suspension will have finished in time for United's trip to title rivals Arsenal on May 1, despite expectations to the contrary.

An FA statement read: "The FA can confirm that Manchester United will not be appealing Sir Alex Ferguson's five-game touchline ban. Manchester United have also requested that the ban starts with immediate effect. This has been accepted by the FA."

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