ALEX FERGUSON has agreed to become the Life President of the Referees' Association.
In a shock move, the Manchester United boss accepted the role in an effort to end his long-running feud with officials.
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That may be difficult for Fergie, who has had numerous run-ins with officials during his management career.
He is still serving the five-match touchline ban he received, along with a £30,000 fine, from the FA for slating ref Martin Atkinson after United's recent defeat at Chelsea.
But a senior member of the RA said: "Sir Alex does appreciate the work we do, even though we sometimes do get it wrong. It's an olive branch on both sides. Having spoken to Sir Alex, we know he is determined to change his ways and we believe this appointment is a step along the road to doing so.
"He told us he is getting fed up of having to travel down to London to attend disciplinary hearings and says the money he pays out in fines could be better spent on wine."
In yesterday's Sun, Ferguson was complaining about referees again. But a United insider explained: "Those comments were before he had agreed to take on the Life Presidency of the Referees' Association.
"Sir Alex is a changed man. He has seen the light and now realises what a tough job refs have."
Ferguson has also agreed to give a talk to his fellow Premier League managers, including Arsenal's Arsene Wenger, about respecting referees.
The Referees' Association is a voluntary body, run by refs for refs.