Saturday 7 December 2019

Arsene Wenger handed three-match touchline ban for abusing match officials

Arsene Wenger has been handed a three-match touchline ban
Arsene Wenger has been handed a three-match touchline ban

Arsene Wenger has been handed a three-match touchline ban and a £40,000 fine for abusing the match officials after Arsenal's draw at West Brom.

The French manager paid a visit to the team led by referee Mike Dean in their changing room after the final whistle at the Hawthorns on New Year's Eve.

Wenger had been left unimpressed after the 1-1 draw in which Arsenal defender Calum Chambers was penalised in the 88th minute for a handball.

West Brom equalised from the spot-kick that was awarded, and the decision was one that Wenger was adamant was unfair to his side.

Frustration lingered and his actions behind the scenes were ruled to have overstepped the mark.

The Football Association announced on Friday evening: "Arsene Wenger will serve a touchline ban for Arsenal's next three matches after he was charged with misconduct.

"It follows an independent regulatory commission hearing today at which the Arsenal manager admitted that his language and behaviour in the match officials' changing room after the West Brom game on Sunday was abusive, improper and questioned the integrity of the match referee. He was also fined £40,000."

Wenger will start his touchline ban with Sunday's FA Cup third-round tie at Nottingham Forest before sitting in the stands for the Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Chelsea on January 10, as well as missing next weekend's Premier League trip to Bournemouth.

The 68-year-old has also been asked by the FA to provide observations on comments he made before and after Wednesday's 2-2 draw with Chelsea.

Press Association Sport understands the latest enquiry relates in particular to Wenger appearing to suggest in interviews there may be a conspiracy against his team.

Arsenal conceded another late spot-kick in the Premier League fixture at the Emirates Stadium when Chelsea's Eden Hazard went down following a challenge from Hector Bellerin. D efender Bellerin later netted an equaliser in stoppage time.

Wenger spoke at length about refereeing ahead of that game, and he stands by his claim that the spot-kick awarded against Bellerin was "farcical", adding on Friday: "I think it was a yellow card for Hazard. One hundred per cent (he dived). I have a right to have my opinion and I respect everybody's opinion."

Wenger spoke about his controversial comments during a press conference ahead of Arsenal's trip to Forest.

"I maintain what I said in the press conference (after the Chelsea game) - 100 per cent. I have nothing to change in that," the Gunners boss said.

He added: "You imagine that I've been in the game for 21 years. What I've seen and heard in the corridors from people, you might understand that I'm surprised and shocked at having been charged."

Wenger has until 6pm on Tuesday to respond to the FA's request for his observations.

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