Arsenal's Jack Wilshere contests two-game FA ban for offensive hand gesture made towards Manchester City fans
Wednesday 18 December 2013
Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has admitted a Football Association charge for an offensive hand gesture made towards Manchester City fans, but has contested the mandatory two-match ban. The case will be heard by a disciplinary commission today.
Wilshere raised his middle finger in the direction of home supporters at the Etihad Stadium during the second half of Arsenal's 6-3 defeat on Saturday.
Although the incident was missed at the time by referee Martin Atkinson and his officials, though picked up on TV, the FA were 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 seen by the officials during the game, it would have merited a dismissal.
However, with the precedent of a two-match suspension handed out to Blackpool winger Tom Ince when he was retrospectively charged in relation to a gesture towards a match official in a Capital One Cup tie against Preston earlier this season, it is understood that Arsenal have submitted mitigating circumstances to the governing body, arguing that the length of the punishment is excessive.
In December 2011, Liverpool striker Luis Suarez was suspended for one match, fined £20,000 and warned as to his future conduct after he made a gesture to home fans as he walked off the pitch following a 1-0 defeat at Fulham.
An FA disciplinary commission will now consider Wilshere's case today and make a definitive ruling.
If the two-match suspension is upheld, the England international would miss Arsenal's next game, the crucial meeting with Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on Monday, and also the Boxing Day fixture at West Ham.
On the pitch, Arsène Wenger is expecting a reaction to the loss at City, as his side look to retain top spot after a weekend which, if all results go against them, could see Arsenal drop to fourth.
A knee gash could rule out defender Laurent Koscielny for the Chelsea match.
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