Pellegrini charged by UEFA, apologizes for criticizing referee

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has been charged by UEFA for making critical comments of a Champions League referee following a loss to Barcelona.
Martin Rickett/Press Association/AP

MANCHESTER, England (AP) - Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini was charged with misconduct by UEFA on Friday, hours after apologizing for blaming a referee for his team's Champions League loss to Barcelona.

After questioning the integrity of Jonas Eriksson, Pellegrini faces a touch-line ban when his case is heard next Friday by UEFA's control and disciplinary body.

UEFA announced that Pellegrini was ''charged for violation of the general principles of conduct.''

After City's 2-0 first-leg loss on Tuesday, Pellegrini said Eriksson was ''not impartial'' and favored Barcelona. The manager also said that since the referee is Swedish, he shouldn't have been given such a high-profile game.

''Maybe I said some things I didn't mean, so I apologize for what I said,'' Pellegrini said Friday.

''It is not my way to act to criticize the referee,'' the Chilean added. ''But in that case it was not a good day and he decided the game - but not with the intention to benefit Barcelona or damage Manchester City.''

The round of 16 match turned at the start of the second half when Eriksson sent off City defender Martin Demichelis, and Lionel Messi scored from the subsequent penalty.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.