Wenger demands apology

2011-03-10 17:39

London - Arsene Wenger has launched an astonishing attack on UEFA as the Arsenal manager demanded an apology for Robin van Persie's controversial red card against Barcelona.

Wenger is still furious that referee Massimo Busacca sent off Van Persie for a second booking when the Dutch forward fired a shot wide one second after the whistle blew for offside in Tuesday's Champions League last 16, second leg at the Nou Camp.

Arsenal were ahead on aggregate at the time but went on to lose the match and the tie and an irate Wenger was involved in a confrontation with Busacca in the tunnel after the final whistle.

UEFA responded by hitting Wenger and Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri with improper conduct charges for "inappropriate language" towards the Swiss official.

But Wenger believes it is UEFA who should be apologising to him for Busacca's decision and their refusal to acknowledge the referee made a mistake.

"I deny completely any charge. It is the kind of thing that is difficult to understand because it was a shame the referee took the wrong decision to send off Robin Van Persie," Wenger said on Thursday.

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

"UEFA should have a little bit of a low profile after what happened on Tuesday. It would be more sensible and adapted to what happened.

"This decision frustrated us and everyone who loves football. The first leg was fantastic but the second leg has been destroyed and the only thing people remember is the sending off."

Wenger is clearly still seething over the perceived injustice of Van Persie's dismissal and the damage it did to Arsenal's hopes of upsetting Barcelona.

The Frenchman risked landing himself in further trouble as he accused the European game's governing body of arrogance and acting like a dictatorship.

"They (UEFA) do not punish me. It is Arsenal Football Club who has been punished," he said. "We are out of the Champions League and have lost one of our big ambitions, and on top of that we have to say sorry to UEFA when we have done nothing wrong. They organise the competition and decide what referees come to games.

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

"We all understand people make wrong decisions but after that it becomes dictatorship. It is not commonsense any more"

Wenger also hinted that Busacca had used some choice language of his own when he responded to the Arsenal manager's comments in the tunnel.

"If UEFA really want to know, I will have some interesting statements to make about statements from people who were not supposed to say what they said," he added.

"I don't want to go public about it. You can look at all my comments in the media after matches and I have never said what happened in the tunnel."

Wenger remains convinced Arsenal could have gone through if Van Persie had stayed on the field, even though official UEFA statistics showed that his team failed to muster a single shot on target.

"We were dominated, we don't deny that, but Barcelona had just two shots on goal in the first half. They had a very sterile domination," Wenger said.

"A lot of Champions League matches are decided in the last few minutes and we would have had chances if Van Persie had not been sent off."

Wenger knows his biggest challenge now is to persuade his players they can still win a trophy for the first time in six years.

They face Manchester United in the FA Cup quarter-finals at Old Trafford on Saturday and are just three points behind Sir Alex Ferguson's side in the Premier League.

Wenger said: "We are disappointed but we have big targets in front of us and it is part of our job to live with these kind of problems.

"We want to deal well with the psychological. For us Saturday's match has a big significance of course."


  • Shane - 2011-03-10 17:47

    Wenger - what a knob

      Henryford - 2011-03-10 18:46

      Did you watch the game or are you going on heresay.

      Gunner - 2011-03-11 07:16

      Shane-what a knob

  • mike - 2011-03-10 18:17

    Got to back Wenger on this one.... Sports bodies need to start taking responisibility for there decisions. Its always the players and coaches who have to stfu or get fined/charged. I'm sorry refs are playing too big a part in the game to be allowed to not be held accountable, and by that I mean publicly, not behind some closed door crap. The players and coaches aren't afforded that pleasure so why should they. Suporters are the ones that pay for all this crap and yet we get kept in the dark, screw that...

      richlube - 2011-03-10 18:57

      Mike ,your comments are spot on (far better and in spite of the one silyble crap that generally overshadows the blogs) (see Shane above) The referee in question has been at the centre of controversy several times in as many years.Other examples: Thec second penalty against Arsenal at Newcastle.The ridiculous play on instruction for Man u at Spurs earlier in the season(not Man u's fault) It just goes on and on. Well done Richard

      Wazza - 2011-03-10 19:55

      I'm a Spurs supporter and I agree with Wenger. Van Persies sending off was a joke. I do believe that Barcelona would have gone through anyway.

      Gunner - 2011-03-11 07:19

      Agree 100%

      Albo - 2011-03-11 10:13

      Guys, this is what Fergie has been doing for years but everytime he makes a comment you get every `non-UTD` supporter shouting and insulting saying he`s making excuses meanwhile he`s been the only one with balls enough to say what is killing the game!! You won`t hear me say this again but lets hope Fergie and Wengner can stand together (LOL) and highlight the fact that the refs aren`t this untouchable force that never make mistakes!!

  • mupet-killer - 2011-03-10 20:54

    WENGER SHUT UP, u havent won nothing for 7 years-who cares what you think.

      Gunner - 2011-03-11 07:18

      MUPET-KILLER SHUT talk crap on this forum all the time

      mikedek - 2011-03-12 09:09

      Pity Gunner that he is right. If he had the trophies to back his mouth people would listen.

  • adrian.berghoff - 2011-03-11 07:59

    Well... if the FA can slap Sir Alex with improper conduct charges, I expect UEFA to give wenger some serious fine/ban

      Mnija - 2011-03-11 09:13

      I am not sure why people complain of just a single decision from the ref. He penalized VP and thats is a rule. He did not break any rule but he used his descretion but he was only harsh. Things could have been worse for Arsenal if he was consistently harsh. Koscienly had a yellow when he fouled Pedro in the box. Messi could have had a penalty first half. Arsenal had done nothing till they gotten a lucky goal ended with zero shots at goal. Come over yourself pro English people and credit Barcelona for a job well done.

      Gunner - 2011-03-11 09:53

      @Mnija...common sense was not used...that's why

      Innocent - 2011-03-11 10:12

      No offence but mybe the F words like in cricket is used, Fixing!!!!!!!!

  • Klaas - 2011-03-11 13:02

    Wenger is spot on. In all American professional sport there are many more referees involved in a game, and refereeing controversy is just about non-existent. So simple! But that doesn't suit UEFA etc, because they want to control outcomes for maximum profit, or whatever .... It's not only here where the money has total control.

      mikedek - 2011-03-12 09:20

      You play to the rules and structure that is applicable to that governing body. If Arsenal do not like it then withdraw from the competition.Otherwise do the honerable thing and show respect.

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