Arsenal thwarted in appeal over Jack Wilshere's ban for offensive hand gesture


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The Independent Football

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere must serve a two-match ban after his appeal to have the suspension reduced to one game was rejected.

The England player admitted a misconduct charge over an offensive hand gesture made towards Manchester City fans on Saturday, but argued mitigating circumstances over the length of the ban. However, he will now miss both the visit of Chelsea to Arsenal on Monday night as well as the Boxing Day trip to West Ham.

Television cameras picked up Wilshere raising his middle finger in the direction of home supporters at the Etihad Stadium during the second half of Arsenal's 6-3 Premier League defeat.

Although the incident was missed at the time by the match officials, the FA was able to retrospectively implement disciplinary proceedings against the player under a new pilot scheme for "not seen" incidents in Premier League matches.

As such, an independent three-man panel agreed that if the gesture had been viewed during the game, then it would have merited a dismissal.

Arsenal submitted mitigating circumstances to the governing body, arguing the length of the punishment is excessive, but those submissions were rejected.

A statement from the FA said: "Whilst admitting the charge, Wilshere claimed the standard sanction for this offence was clearly excessive. The commission rejected this claim and the two-match suspension will commence with immediate effect."

In 2011 Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was suspended for one match, fined £20,000 and warned as to his future conduct after he gestured to home fans following a 1-0 defeat at Fulham.

However, a precedent had been set from earlier this season when a two-match ban was given to Blackpool winger Tom Ince after he was retrospectively charged in relation to a gesture towards a match official in a Capital One Cup tie against Preston.