Uefa accept Arsenal request to delay Arsene Wenger ban

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The Independent Online

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will be allowed to be at pitch-side for tomorrow's Champions League play-off second leg against Udinese after UEFA agreed to defer his two-match ban.

The London club and European football's governing body confirmed the decision tonight, after Arsenal appealed against the ban given to Wenger for breaking the terms of an earlier suspension during the first leg of their tie last week.

Arsenal had immediately indicated their intention to appeal, but decided to initially seek a delay to the ban before contesting it fully. UEFA have agreed to the request, granting Wenger some respite after a difficult few weeks.

Arsenal hold a 1-0 lead from the first leg.

A statement from UEFA tonight said: "The UEFA appeals body has granted a stay of execution to the appeal lodged earlier today by Arsenal FC and their manager Arsene Wenger.

"The appeals body will take a decision in due time, but not before Arsenal's UEFA Champions League game against Udinese Calcio in Italy on Wednesday.

"Following the play-off first leg match between Arsenal and Udinese last week, the UEFA control and disciplinary body yesterday banned Wenger from carrying out his duties at Arsenal's next two UEFA competition matches and fined the club 10,000 euros.

"Without today's decision by the appeals body, the manager's suspension would have taken effect for the play-off second leg at Udinese."

The Frenchman was yesterday found guilty of failing to abide by UEFA rules surrounding his original ban - imposed after last season's last-16 defeat to Barcelona - after they decided he had passed messages to the dug-out during the match at the Emirates Stadium last week.

Wenger claimed UEFA had told him he was permitted to relay instructions to assistant manager Pat Rice through first-team coach Boro Primorac, who was in telephone contact with the Arsenal bench.

UEFA also fined Arsenal 10,000 euros (£8,743) for the improper conduct of their officials during the match.

The match in Udine tomorrow night will be vital in shaping Arsenal's season, while the financial rewards of winning the tie and reaching the Champions League group stage are obvious.

The stay of execution offers the French coach some respite after a difficult period which has seen the Gunners lose their captain, Cesc Fabregas, and midfielder Samir Nasri, who is on the verge of a move to Manchester City.

Arsenal were also fined £30,000 by the Football Association today for failing to control their players against Newcastle - who were given the same punishment - on the opening weekend of the season.

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