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Sunday 11 December 2016

Wenger blasts UEFA as 'dictatorship'

Published 10/03/2011 | 14:32

Arsene Wenger. Photo: AP
Arsene Wenger. Photo: AP

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger today labelled UEFA arrogant and a "dictatorship" as the fallout from Arsenal's Champions League defeat to Barcelona continued.

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The Gunners manager and midfielder Samir Nasri have been charged for "inappropriate language" towards Swiss referee Massimo Busacca after the final whistle at the Nou Camp, where Arsenal lost 3-1 after having striker Robin van Persie controversially sent off.

Busacca caused uproar by showing van Persie a second yellow card for shooting at goal just one second after he had blown the whistle for offside - the Dutch forward claimed he had not heard it due to the noise of the 95,000-plus crowd.

Wenger confronted the Swiss official after the final whistle over the sending-off and angry exchanges continued inside the tunnel.

The disciplinary case will be heard by UEFA on March 17, where the Arsenal manager is sure to mount a staunch defence.

The whole incident has overshadowed what was a fine performance by Barcelona, who dominated possession as Arsenal failed to muster a single shot on goal.

Nevertheless, Wenger remains unrepentant and insists he has no case to answer.

Speaking ahead of what is a crunch FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester United on Saturday, Wenger said: "Who has been punished is Arsenal football club.

"We are out of the Champions League, we have lost one of our big ambitions, we have been punished with a lot of damages and on top of that, we have to say sorry to UEFA.

"We have done nothing wrong. They organised the competition, they named the referees who come to the games.

"When you have a football game of that stature, you cannot come out with decisions like that and show a lot of arrogance on top of that.

"We can all understand that we can make wrong decisions, but after that it becomes dictatorship. Its not any more common sense."

Wenger is no stranger to confrontations with the authorities.

Earlier this season, the Frenchman was fined £8,000 by the Football Association and served a one-match touchline ban after he sarcastically patted fourth official Martin Atkinson on the back following Darren Bent's late stoppage-time equaliser at Sunderland, as well as being critical in his post-match comments.

However, on his latest disciplinary run-in, the Arsenal manager is adamant there should be no case to answer.

"I deny completely any charge, I don't understand where that comes from," he said.

"It is a shame the referee took the decision to send Robin van Persie off because it was the wrong decision.

"The first game was a fantastic advert for football and the second game has been destroyed. The only thing that people remember is that the sending off killed the game."

Wenger added: "A bit more humility would do UEFA some good, to apologise for what happened would be much better than charge people who have done nothing wrong.

"This decision frustrated us and frustrated everybody who loves football."

There have been suggestions Wenger swore at Busacca, who is reported to have not held back either.

The Arsenal boss, though, would not divulge any firm details of the alleged exchanges.

"I will keep that for UEFA if they really want to know because I will have some interesting statements to make about some statements made by people who were not supposed to say what they said," he said.

"You can check any statement I made on television after the game. If I have done anything wrong I am ready to be charged.

"As for what is said in the tunnel, if you can get only one thing where I have come out on what has been said against me or against the referee during my 15 years in England, I will pay for you to have a big holiday."

Press Association

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