Manchester City's Patrick Vieira has reacted furiously to what he claims is a 'serious and cynical misrepresentation' of comments he made regarding Manchester United.
The Frenchman, who now holds a role as football development executive at the Etihad Stadium, suggested during an interview at the SoccerEx conference that the Red Devils enjoy preferential treatment from referees at Old Trafford.
His comments stoked the flames of controversy first fanned when he claimed that United's decision to tempt Paul Scholes out of retirement was an act of desperation.
Although City and Vieira have not denied questioning the performance of match officials, they have condemned the manner in which the quotes have been used during an interview which was supposed to be part of Vieira's charity work for Football Against Hunger, a campaign to tackle starvation in Africa.
"Patrick Vieira has expressed his disappointment and anger at what he feels is a serious and cynical misrepresentation of an interview he gave to the BBC," said a statement released by City.
"Manchester City's Football Development Executive gave the interview at the annual SoccerEx exhibition at the GMEX Convention Centre on Wednesday afternoon. He was representing Football Against Hunger, a campaign to tackle starvation in Africa.
"An interview given to the BBC's Dan Roan contained what Patrick feels was a very leading line of questions regarding Manchester United supposedly receiving favourable treatment by referees. Patrick feels that his views have been deliberately taken out of context."
Vieira said: "I am very angry with Dan Roan. I feel he has misrepresented me.
"I made it clear in the interview twice that I wanted to avoid criticising United and even stated that I didn't watch the United game against Fulham and had not seen the incident to which the reporter referred.
"That part of the interview was ignored and my comments were taken completely out of context. I called the reporter twice to ask for a retraction and an apology which has not come.
"I feel Dan Roan and the BBC have shown a complete lack of respect for me, the 'Football Against Hunger' charity and Manchester City Football Club."