Arsene Wenger charged by FA over West Brom penalty row
Arsenal manager could face touchline ban
02 January, 2018 — By Geoffrey Sawyer
ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger has been told by the Football Association he has until Friday to explain his behaviour in the aftermath of the team’s New Year’s Eve draw at West Brom, which ended with a controversial penalty awarded by referee Mike Dean.
The Gunners were pegged back with two minutes to go after Dean adjudged Calum Chambers had handled the ball – the rules say he must have done so deliberately to concede a spot kick – when Baggies full-back Kieran Gibbs tried to fire in a cross. The decision has been roundly criticised as one of the worst penalty calls of the season by television pundits.
Wenger, however, is now facing an FA charge for the way he shared his anger with the referee. “It is alleged his language and/or behaviour in the match officials’ changing room after the game was abusive and/or improper and/or questioned the integrity of the match referee,” an FA statement released this afternoon said. “He has until 6pm on Friday to respond.”
The manager is currently preparing the team for the visit of Chelsea tomorrow night, as Arsenal try to stay in touch with the top four, but could now face a touchline ban for future matches over the incident at West Brom.
In his press conference today, he said: “There are only two countries where there are professional referees in Europe and that’s England and Italy so, of course, you want them to have the time to improve and raise their level, which is maybe not confirmed, not only by my judgement but as well by the referees’ judgement.”
He added: “It was very disappointing in the way it happened [at West Brom]. I must say what is more frustrating for me is that it happened many times this season – at Stoke, at Watford, at Man City, at West Brom. That is a concerning coincidence for me. That’s why I was not happy at all with the movement that the referee made to show why he gave the penalty because that didn’t correspond at all with what happened. On that front, it’s a bit worrying.”