Sunday 23 July 2017

PSG furious as Aurier is denied entry to UK for crunch clash with Gunners

Defender Serge Aurier had his visa suddenly revoked. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images
Defender Serge Aurier had his visa suddenly revoked. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty Images

Jason Burt

Paris Saint-Germain have accused the UK authorities of attacking "the very integrity of the Champions League" after defender Serge Aurier had his visa suddenly revoked.

The French club arrived in London yesterday without their highly-rated Ivorian right-back ahead of tonight's match against Arsenal at the Emirates which may decide who wins Group A.

"Due to a sudden about-face by the British authorities, Serge Aurier has not been allowed to travel with PSG squad," PSG said in a statement.

"After an initial application on October 18, complete with all the necessary documents, the British authorities had originally granted Paris Saint-Germain's Côte d'Ivoire international an entry visa to the UK on October 21.

"However, on November 16, his visa was finally revoked by the British Ministry of the Interior, who justified their about-face by citing Aurier's conviction on September 30, 2016."

Aurier was sentenced to two months in jail for elbowing a police officer after being stopped to take a breath test outisde a Paris night club. He was fined €600 and received a 'convertible' sentence which will probably result in community service rather than jail time.

The 23-year-old has been allowed to continue playing football pending his appeal against the conviction.

"Paris Saint-Germain had, in all transparency, informed the British authorities of this conviction - as well as Aurier's appeal against this decision (and the legal suspension of the ruling) from the outset.

"The club has argued several times that since the player has launched a legal appeal against the criminal ruling, he is therefore entitled to the presumption of innocence - as any other person exercising their right to appeal."

Away from the controversy, Arsene Wenger has hit out at suggestions he is gambling with the fitness of Alexis Sanchez, who played the whole of last Saturday's 1-1 draw at Manchester United despite suffering a hamstring injury while on international duty with Chile.

Sanchez, who had played and scored twice for his country while carrying the injury, has started more games than any other Arsenal player this season, having been shifted to a central attacking role.

However, the 27-year-old could be rested for tonight's match, having been forced to sit out almost two months last season when he picked up a similar injury at this stage a year ago.

"He had a bit of tightness in his hamstring, but he was checked before the game," Wenger said.

"I follow the instructions of the medical staff and the player. If they declare him capable of playing, and the player does as well... I have never forced anyone to play in my life.

"I've never demanded anyone should be injected to play. If a player is 100 per cent, I make a decision. But the suggestions I have forced him to play are wrong, completely wrong.

"I had the luxury to give (Mesut) Ozil a break because Germany didn't pick him. Sanchez was not overloaded with games before United, either, as he didn't play in Colombia."

While Sanchez may need a rest, Olivier Giroud has started only once all season but has scored four goals in his last four club appearances.

Wenger said he had yet to decide which of the pair will start up front against PSG.

"They are different style of players," he said. "That dictates a different style to us as well. The shape and form of the players of the moment, their hunger... it's a mixture of many ingredients. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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