English Premiership

Wenger hit with misconduct charge

2017-01-23 20:45
Arsene Wenger (Gallo Images)

London - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was charged with misconduct by England's governing Football Association on Monday after an alleged altercation with the fourth official during Sunday's 2-1 Premier League win over Burnley.

The veteran French boss was dismissed from his technical area by referee Jon Moss after being angered by the award of a stoppage-time penalty to Burnley, having allegedly verbally abused fourth official Anthony Taylor.

Wenger, 67, then tried to watch the closing minutes of the match in the tunnel at north London club Arsenal's Emirates Stadium and television pictures then showed him pushing Taylor when asked to move back.

Arsenal eventually won the match 2-1 after Alexis Sanchez scored an even later stoppage-time penalty following Andre Gray's spot-kick equaliser that cancelled out Shkodran Mustafi's opening goal for the title-chasing Gunners.

Wenger, Arsenal's manager since 1996, apologised for his behaviour after the match but that did not prevent him being charged by the FA on Monday.

"Arsene Wenger has been charged for misconduct following Arsenal's game against Burnley on Sunday (22 January 2017)," said a statement issued by the FA.

"It is alleged that in or around the 92nd minute, he used abusive and/or insulting words towards the fourth official.

"It is further alleged that following his dismissal from the technical area, his behaviour in remaining in the tunnel area and making physical contact with the fourth official amounted to improper conduct.

"He has until 6:00pm (1800 GMT) on 26 January 2017 to respond to the charge."

Following the victory, which saw Arsenal move up into second place in the Premier League, Wenger expressed "regret" for his behaviour.

Asked in particular about television pictures that showed him pushing Taylor, Wenger replied: "I regret everything. I should have shut up, gone in and go home. I apologise for that.

"I was sent to the stands. I didn't know if I was sent to the stands but I was sent out. I thought I could watch it from the corridor, you know. I went inside and watched it on television.

"Look, it was nothing bad. I said something that you hear every day in football. Overall nine times out of 10 you are not sent to the stand for that.

"If I am, I am (suspended), and I should have shut up completely. I was quite calm the whole game, more than usual, but just (not) in the last two or three minutes."

Wenger, who faces the prospect of a fine and a touchline ban, was not the only member of the Arsenal set-up in disciplinary trouble on Sunday.

Gunners midfielder Granit Xhaka was sent off for a reckless lunge on Steven Defour that left Arsenal a man down for the final 25 minutes against Burnley.

It was the ninth time the Swiss international has been sent off for club and country since 2014.

Xhaka, having already been shown a red card while on Arsenal duty against Swansea earlier this season, will now miss the Gunners' next four games through suspension.

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