Tuesday 24 October 2017

Arsene Wenger on Football Association misconduct charge: "I've said much worse"

Arsene Wenger was sent to the stands during Arsenal's win over Burnley
Arsene Wenger was sent to the stands during Arsenal's win over Burnley

Arsene Wenger believes he has said and heard worse abuse on the touchline than the actions which have landed him in hot water with the Football Association.

The Arsenal boss has said he will request a personal hearing following an FA misconduct charge after being dismissed from the dugout in Sunday's Premier League win over Burnley.

Wenger had until 1800 on Thursday to respond to the charge but revealed at his morning press briefing that he would not be contesting it.

He was sent off by referee Jon Moss after allegedly using abusive or insulting language towards fourth official Anthony Taylor after an injury-time penalty was awarded to the Clarets.

Wenger then tried to watch the remainder of the contest from the entrance to the tunnel and was shown pushing Taylor, who was asking him to retreat.

At 67 and with two decades of Premier League management to his name, Wenger is the elder statesmen when it comes to top-flight bosses - and he believes his recent incident does not rank with the worst he has witnessed.

"You know, I have said much worse than I did here and you are not punished and I have heard much worse from other people," he said of his spat with the officials.

"It depends as well on the circumstances. Sometimes some new level of problem you have all around."

Arsenal secured a 2-1 win over Burnley when Moss awarded them their own injury-time penalty, by which time Wenger was back in the dressing room.

After the game he admitted he should have "shut up" and "gone home" but insists he has been able to keep a lid his temper on most occasions.

"I learnt to control it," he said.

"I have certainly attendance to be super passionate. You do not make 34 years without interruption on the bench if not super passionate, believe me. I put you in this job for six months and then we will talk again - if you are still alive."

Although he believes he has witnessed worse touchline behaviour, Wenger admitted his charge of using abusive and/or insulting words and improper conduct when making physical contact with Taylor.

When asked if he would accept the charge, he replied: "Yes, I've answered that in the press conference, there's not more to add. I've been in England for 20 years, I have seen a lot on the bench, as you certainly know.

"I think if I am after 34 years still in the job it is because I am big enough to stand up for what I do. And as well, I'm big enough to know when I do well and when I do not do well. So that's it.

"I am a passionate guy and I believe that I am completely committed in my job and want to win football games."

Wenger is expected to be hit with a fine and a suspension after Alan Pardew was banned for two matches and fined £20,000 after accepting an improper conduct charge following an incident in August 2012 when he shoved assistant referee Peter Kirkup.

"I expect nothing," Wenger said when asked about potential punishments.

"I came out after the game and I said what I think I had to say. When I don't behave like I think I should behave, I'm big enough to say 'yes, that's not right' and that's it."

Wenger confirmed he will request a personal hearing to answer the charge but refused to divulge what he would say to the FA panel.

He also defended his decision to stand at the top of the tunnel, insisting there are no instructions where a manager is to go once dismissed from the touchline.

Wenger referenced an incident at Manchester United in 2009 when he was sent off in injury-time for kicking a bottle and ended up behind the dugout with the home fans - on that occasion he was given an apology by Keith Hackett - then the head of the Professional Game Match Official Board.

"When I was sent off I was surprised and I was in the tunnel because I thought I had the right to be in the tunnel," Wenger said.

"Last time I was sent off wrongly, in 2009, I had to go in the stand at Old Trafford and I didn't know where to go. No one tells you what you have to do when you are sent off."

Asked if the guidelines need to be made clearer, he added: "I think so, because you don't know where to go."

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