Arsène Wenger joked yesterday that if Cesc Fabregas had been wearing black tie rather than a black hoodie he would never have been charged by the Football Association over the spitting controversy after the FA Cup tie with Hull City. The Arsenal manager said that the club believed Fabregas would be cleared of both the FA charges against him.
It is understood that Arsenal have video evidence that shows Fabregas spat at the ground – rather than assistant manager Brian Horton – as he went into the tunnel after the sixth-round replay on 17 March. Arsenal also believe their case is strengthened because Hull's evidence does not include any statements from their players accusing Fabregas of spitting, only statements from manager Phil Brown, Horton and fitness coach Sean Rush. The FA yesterday charged Fabregas on two improper conduct charges: one for coming onto the pitch (below) at the end of game – he did not play against Hull – and the other in relation to the spitting incident.
Privately the FA felt they had no choice but to appoint a commission to judge the evidence after Hull were so vociferous in their complaints. The club refused to back down after Brown gave an explosive post-match press conference in which he alleged Fabregas spat at Horton. However, the only video evidence submitted has come from Arsenal and Hull will have to prove that Brown actually saw Fabregas spit. Brown has also been charged with improper conduct for his attack on referee Mike Riley in which he insinuated that the official had "cheated" Hull.
In their evidence Hull are understood to have made a number of references to Fabregas's choice of clothes on the night – a black hoodie jacket, jeans and trainers – as if to suggest that alone made his behaviour inappropriate. Wenger said: "If he had been wearing a black tie he would not have been charged. I will show you the tape and you will surprised he is charged. We have nothing to hide. The FA should show it [the tape] to you.
"I thought he was dressed in a proper way. There is an expression, 'Do not judge people by the way they dress', so why should we suddenly do it? Never." Wenger's side play Middlesbrough tomorrow and have Manuel Almunia, Emmanuel Adebayor and possibly Johan Djourou all back from injury. Wenger said that Tomas Rosicky, who has not played for 14 months, would not feature again this season.
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