Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger wants 'ethics committee' to over-rule referees

 

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hit out at the current disciplinary system in English football and wants an "ethics committee" established to over-rule referees.

The Football Association's current rules state that a player can not be disciplined retrospectively if any of the match officials at that game saw the incident in question.

That policy caused outrage last month when Mario Balotelli's studs-up challenge on Alex Song went unpunished after at least one of the four officials at the game saw the incident, but referee Martin Atkinson failed to act.

Criticism of that decision was particularly strong as it came on the same day that the FA upheld the suspension of QPR midfielder Shaun Derry for the slightest of touches that brought down Ashley Young at Old Trafford.

Wenger says the current system lacks common sense and wants to see an overhaul as soon as possible.

"Basically we are in the position at the moment where if somebody takes a player's leg off, if the referee has seen it and misjudged it, the player gets away with it. For me that is not acceptable," Wenger told Arsenal Magazine.

"If you love football you want justice to prevail. How can it be right that Shaun Derry is suspended and Mario Balotelli isn't?

"Even if each case might make sense individually when they are explained, when you put the whole picture together you have to say it's not common sense. So there is something missing from the cohesion of the justice system.

"I am convinced that a committee with a supreme authority - an ethics committee - could rule on some cases, and make sure justice is done. They should have the power after games, in exceptional circumstances, to make a decision above the referee. Then the system would be perfect."

Wenger has had his fair share of run-ins with the authorities since he took over at Arsenal, not least in Europe where he has been banned three times within the space of a year.

The standard of officiating has come under the spotlight of late after several high-profile errors, and while he respects the difficult nature of the job, Wenger thinks officials need to be over-ruled more at times.

He added: "There are a lot of things that work very, very well but my main concern is that there is friction between the authority of the referee and justice in football.

"That is a grey area at the moment that has to be explored. You have to respect the referee, respect the difficulty of his job, but also put justice in the game above the referee's authority."

Meanwhile, new signing Lukas Podolski has been speaking at length for the first time about his move to Arsenal.

The Gunners announced on Monday that Podolski would move to the north London club at the end of the season from his current team Cologne.

Arsenal, who currently sit third in the Barclays Premier League, may have struggled for consistency this term, but Podolski is convinced his new team can win their first league title since 2004 next season.

"There is no question that Arsenal FC is a big name in football. The aim must be to win the title next year," Podolski told a press conference in Germany.

"Arsenal have a very good coach, a good environment, they play good football, have a great stadium and have great fans.

"Therefore, this club suits me well."

Podolski's arrival at the club this summer could signal the permanent departure of Andrey Arshavin.

Arshavin is on loan at Zenit St Petersburg after falling out of favour with the Gunners, but he is in no rush to decide his future.

"I haven't yet though about (my future). Everything will be decided after the European Championship," Arshavin told Russian newspaper Sport Express.

"Of course, the result and quality of play there could affect my destiny."

PA

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