Writer: Tim Stillman
Date:Friday March 30 2012
Arsene Wenger has once again had his collar felt by the powers that be in UEFA. The Arsenal boss labelled Slovenian official Damir Skomina "a disgrace" following the second round second leg tie with A.C. Milan at the Grove. In response, UEFA have handed him a three match touchline ban and a fine of 40,000 Euros. A series of soft decisions for the Italians left the Gunners manager in a huff with Milan using the ref`s generosity to invite a number of free kicks to destroy the rhythm of the match. After the final whistle, Wenger apparently pursued the official down the tunnel.
In his post match press conference, Arsene labelled Skomina "a disgrace." Unusually, Skomina responded to the charge in the press himself, saying, "Wenger's complaints say a lot about him. We had to be careful not to make any mistakes with the result that someone might say his team was knocked out because of us.'
UEFA haven`t confirmed in their short statement on their website, but this would appear to be a cumulative charge. Arsene was given a one match touchline ban at the beginning of this season after expressing outrage at Swiss official Massimo Busacca for his incredibly harsh decision to send Robin van Persie in the Nou Camp. Farce ensued as Wenger was then given a further two matches in the stands for apparently violating the terms of the ban by communicating with the bench electronically during his ban. Wenger maintains that UEFA`s communications to him made no mention of electronic communication being forbidden.
Now Arsene will find himself in the stands for the next three UEFA fixtures Arsenal participate in, along with a very large fine by UEFA`s standards. Didier Drogba was fined the same amount for screaming that UEFA were "a f****g disgrace" after Chelsea controversially exited the Champions League two years ago. It`s also the same sum the Bulgarian F.A. were fined in November for racist chanting by Bulgaria fans towards England players. The Serbian F.A. were given a fine of £16,500 for the same offence during a Serbia U-21 encounter with their English counterparts.
A UEFA statement read: "Arsenal FC manager Arsène Wenger has been suspended from carrying out his functions for three UEFA competition matches by the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body.
'Wenger has also been fined €40,000. He was facing a charge of improper conduct in relation to the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second-leg match against AC Milan in London on March 6.
'The suspension applies to the next three UEFA club competition matches for which Wenger would be eligible. An appeal may be lodged against the verdict within three days of the dispatch of the reasoned decision.'
In his press conference this morning, Wenger strongly intimated he would appeal any punitive action taken against him. LD.
Date:Friday March 30 2012
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