Saturday 21 September 2019

Bottle incident leaves Unai Emery in hot water

Arsenal head coach charged by Football Association for kicking water bottle into Brighton fans.

Unai Emery could face a touchline ban after kicking a water bottle into the fans at Brighton (Gareth Fuller/PA)
Unai Emery could face a touchline ban after kicking a water bottle into the fans at Brighton (Gareth Fuller/PA)

By Mark Mann-Bryans, Press Association Sport

Unai Emery has been hit with a Football Association charge of improper conduct after the Arsenal head coach kicked a water bottle into the crowd during his side’s draw at Brighton.

The Spaniard immediately apologised to a supporter, who was also given the shirt of Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny as a gesture by the club.

Emery went to speak to the home fan following the incident and at full-time after the Gunners drew 1-1 at the Amex Stadium on Boxing Day.

Emery spoke to the supporter after the game before shaking hands with Brighton counterpart Chris Hughton (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The FA announced on Thursday afternoon that the 47-year-old had been charged over the incident.

“Arsenal manager Unai Emery has been charged following the game against Brighton yesterday [26 December 2018],” a statement read.

“It is alleged his action of kicking a water bottle during the fixture amounts to improper conduct. He has until 6pm on 2 January 2019 to respond to the charge.”

Speaking ahead of the FA statement at a press conference to preview Arsenal’s weekend trip to Liverpool, Emery had hoped his apology would have been the end of the matter.

“I say yesterday my apologies, I kicked the bottle in frustration but not for the supporter, I kicked for me and it went near to the supporter and I said to them my apologies. There is not another communication.

“I repeat today my apologies for my individual action but I kick the bottle because it is near me, but not because it is my intention.”

Emery had hoped his apology would have been enough to escape an FA charge. (Adam Davy/PA)

Emery went on to say he would respect any decision the FA made, although he was keen to draw a line under the incident.

“I hope so, yes,” he replied when asked whether his apology should be the end of the matter.

“But I have to respect the decision because it is a circumstance of my action but not another intention from me with the supporter. I say to them my apology.”

Jose Mourinho (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Former Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho received a one-match touchline ban for kicking a bottle of water during the clash against West Ham in 2016.

He was also sent to the stands during his side’s 1-1 draw after lashing out following referee Jonathan Moss’ decision to book Paul Pogba for diving.

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