Wenger attacks Uefa over 'untouchable' referees

 

Arsène Wenger last night claimed Uefa has turned referees into "untouchable icons" and plans to appeal against his three-match European touchline ban for improper conduct.

The Arsenal manager was suspended and fined £33,800 (€40,000) following comments he made to Slovenian referee Damir Skomina after the club's Champions League last 16 exit to Milan earlier this month.

Wenger accused the officials of awarding the Serie A leaders, four points ahead of their closest challengers Juventus, too many free-kicks during a heated exchange and, although he has three days to decide on an appeal, a senior club official confirmed he is expected to travel to Geneva to defend his actions in person before a Uefa committee to try and avoid a third punishment in a year.

The 62-year-old was banned for one match for a rant at Swiss referee Massimo Busacca, who sent off Robin van Persie as the Gunners crashed out of the same competition to Barcelona in the Nou Camp last season.

He was then banned for a further two matches in August after Uefa deemed him in breach of his original suspension by sending messages from the stands to the bench during Arsenal's Champions League play-off first leg against Udinese.

Speaking moments before the decision was announced by Uefa, Wenger said: "I have played 200 games in Europe and suddenly people discover that I can be suspended.

"I don't know if I am and if I am then it is not justified and I will appeal straight away. Because I believe that they have transformed Uefa competition referees to be [impossible to speak to], untouchable icons, where you cannot even have a word. The only thing they understand after the game is the report.

"I believe that when you have 25 years consecutively in Europe you can still ask the referee that you can have some discussion with him. It is very difficult to understand. Last year I have been suspended a second time – the first time was not justified, the second time was a joke because they told me what to do and afterwards they told me, 'No, sorry, that was wrong'.

"So at the moment I have difficulties with Uefa and I can take what is wrong on my side but in these different situations I think they go a little bit overboard if they suspend me."

Wenger's ire towards Uefa extended to anger over the state of the San Siro surface for their first leg against Milan – a sentiment echoed by Barcelona following their quarter-final first-leg goalless draw on Wednesday.

"Barcelona made an official complaint to Uefa against the quality of the pitch but the pitch that we played on was 10 times worse," he said.

"When we played against Milan on the Wednesday night, they relaid the pitch on Monday afternoon – that should not be accepted. We lost and we were bad, we were poor.

"But the pitch was in a terrible state and it's more down to respect to the guy who pays for his ticket – 15, 20 or 50 pounds and wants to see Van Persie or Messi play football. I didn't know that it was possible [to complain officially]. I complained to the official at Uefa and he looks at you and says, 'Oh, thank you very much, I have a dinner tonight.'

"In every European managers' meeting in Geneva we bring this up. The quality of the pitch, the level of the grass, the length. I've played some games in England and it's important in the Premier League that you have real rigid rules about the quality of the pitch as it's part of respect about people who pay money."

Arsenal face Queen's Park Rangers at Loftus Road today with defender Laurent Koscielny available again after overcoming the tendinitis that forced his withdrawal during the warm-up prior to last weekend's victory over Aston Villa.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
News
i100
Sport
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Sport
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?