Football: Arsenal cut prices for Cup rematch
Tuesday 16 February 1999
Arsenal's directors met yesterday and ruled out suggestions that the proceeds from the re-match should go to charity, after the Football Association accepted Arsene Wenger's suggestion that the tie should be played again following a controversial Marc Overmars "winner" on Saturday.
An Arsenal spokeswoman said: "It was decided that any concessions should go to the supporters. We will now be selling tickets at half the normal prices for the replayed match."
The offer to replay the game by Wenger came after an uproar when Overmars had tapped the ball into the an empty net in the 76th minute from a pass by the debutant, Nwankwo Kanu, whom Sheffield United accused of breaking unwritten laws of sportsmanship. The Nigerian latched on to a throw-in by Ray Parlour which was intended to reach United's goalkeeper Alan Kelly, after he kicked the ball out of play so that his team-mate, Lee Morris, could gain treatment for an injury.
Although Wenger says he is convinced Kanu that did not deliberately break the unwritten code of football ethics, the Arsenal manager offered a replay to his Sheffield United counterpart, Steve Bruce, after the game finished in a 2-1 win for the FA Cup holders.
Within an hour, the FA had sanctioned this unprecedented plan and declared that Saturday's result is now void. But it will still count as far as the FA's disciplinary records are concerned. Five Sheffield United players - Shaun Derry, David Holdsworth, Ian Hamilton, Graham Stuart and Marcelo - were shown yellow cards on Saturday. Arsenal's Emmanuel Petit, who missed that game at the start of a three-match suspension, is now deemed to have served one game of that ban and will be eligible for the re-match after missing tomorrow's Premiership visit to Manchester United and Saturday's home game with Leicester.
Gerard Houllier will not be the subject of a protest by the referee, Mike Reed, following the Liverpool manager's attack over Jamie Carragher's red card. The Birmingham official is even prepared to look at video evidence of the incident during Saturday's Premiership match at Charlton - if the FA asks him to. But Carragher's chances of a reprieve look slim.
Reed said: "I have had no doubts in my mind about the decision since. I saw the player's arm hit the Charlton man." The usually calm Houllier launched a verbal assault on Reed after Liverpool's 1-0 defeat at The Valley, with the winning goal from Keith Jones coming just minutes after Carragher had been dismissed following a clash with Martin Pringle.
However, Reed confirmed: "I do not intend complaining to the FA, and I have included nothing in my report of what the Liverpool manager is reputed to have said. I will leave anything on that score to the FA."
Houllier said: "The decision was wrong and I'd like to know why he made it, without giving a yellow card first. I watched the video and it showed nothing happened. I wanted to ask the referee, but he didn't want to see anybody. Personally I think he wanted Charlton to win, or maybe he just wanted Liverpool to lose."
Parma's French midfielder Reynald Pedros has joined Sheffield Wednesday on trial. The 27-year-old has been capped 25 times.
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