Newcastle and Arsenal fined for opening day melee

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The Independent Online

Newcastle and Arsenal have each been fined £30,000 after being found guilty of failing to control their players during the bad-tempered goalless draw at St James' Park on August 13.

Gunners forward Gervinho was sent off in the second half for striking Magpies midfielder Joey Barton after the pair had squared up following what the home side claimed was a dive.

Arsenal midfielder Alex Song will also serve a three-match ban for stamping on Barton's leg in an incident not seen by referee Peter Walton.

There was more bad news for both clubs today when the Football Association announced both had failed to control their players in a mass confrontation which led to Gervinho's red card.

An FA statement read: "An independent regulatory commission today found both Newcastle United and Arsenal guilty of failing to control their players.

"The charges relate to an incident during their recent league fixture at St James' Park on Saturday 13 August 2011.

"Both clubs denied the charge and requested a non-personal hearing. In each case, the charge was proven by the regulatory commission and both clubs have been fined £30,000."

Newcastle have asked for details behind the decision before considering their position.

A Magpies statement read: "Newcastle United has requested written reasons for the decision from the chairman of the regulatory commission and will consider its position once these have been received."

Gervinho and Song missed Saturday's 2-0 Barclays Premier League defeat to Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium and will also sit out upcoming games against Manchester United and Swansea.

Barton, meanwhile, received a yellow card for his part in the melee, and as such has already been sanctioned.

The controversial midfielder admitted he "went down easily" following Gervinho's slap, and also engaged in some heated exchanges on Twitter.

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