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*The graphic is terrible because my computer broke down and I had to scramble one together. : \
Sir Alex Ferguson is considering abandoning his boycott of the BBC, thus ending one of the oldest grudges of his career, amid growing pressure from the Premier League and the League Managers Association (LMA). The Premier League has written to Manchester United explaining that Ferguson will face a sliding scale of punishments if he continues to ignore Match of the Day and 5 Live. Richard Bevan, the chief executive of the LMA, has had conversations with the Old Trafford manager to try to persuade him to put his grievances to one side.
The talks have been described as delicate and finely poised, with Ferguson dismayed by the idea that he may have to speak to the institution for the first time since a Panorama documentary in 2004, entitled Father and Son, about the business activities of his son Jason, then working as a football agent.
The Premier League has brought in a new rule stipulating that all managers must speak to the broadcasting rights-holders, which include the BBC, and there have been discussions behind the scenes, with Bevan acting as an intermediary to try to talk around one of the most famously stubborn managers in the business.
Ferguson's initial reaction was that he would ignore the new rule, regardless of the consequences, until his family received an apology from the BBC, which he has accused of "breathtaking arrogance".
Since then, however, there have been more high-level talks, with BBC officials and United's chief executive, David Gill, involved. The club are sympathetic to Ferguson's grievances but, behind the scenes, there is a feeling that it is becoming a battle he cannot win – at least if he wants to avoid a series of escalating fines.