Wenger cleared for bench duty

The London club and European football’s governing body confirmed

the decision after Arsenal appealed against the two-match ban given

to Wenger for breaking the terms of an earlier suspension during

the first leg of their tie last week. Arsenal had immediately

indicated their intention to appeal, but decided to initially seek

a delay to the ban before contesting it fully. UEFA have agreed to

the request, granting Wenger some respite after a difficult few

weeks. Arsenal hold a 1-0 lead from the first leg. A statement from

UEFA said: “The UEFA appeals body has granted a stay of execution

to the appeal lodged earlier today by Arsenal FC and their manager

Arsene Wenger. “The appeals body will take a decision in due time,

but not before Arsenal’s UEFA Champions League game against Udinese

Calcio in Italy on Wednesday. “Following the play-off first leg

match between Arsenal and Udinese last week, the UEFA control and

disciplinary body yesterday banned Wenger from carrying out his

duties at Arsenal’s next two UEFA competition matches and fined the

club 10,000 euros. “Without today’s decision by the appeals body,

the manager’s suspension would have taken effect for the play-off

second leg at Udinese.” The Frenchman was found guilty of failing

to abide by UEFA rules surrounding his original ban – imposed after

last season’s last-16 defeat to Barcelona – after they decided he

had passed messages to the dug-out during the match at the Emirates

Stadium last week. Wenger claimed UEFA had told him he was

permitted to relay instructions to assistant manager Pat Rice

through first-team coach Boro Primorac, who was in telephone

contact with the Arsenal bench. UEFA also fined Arsenal 10,000

euros (£8,743) for the improper conduct of their officials

during the match. The match in Udine on Wednesday night will be

vital in shaping Arsenal’s season, while the financial rewards of

winning the tie and reaching the Champions League group stage are

obvious. The stay of execution offers the French coach some respite

after a difficult period which has seen the Gunners lose their

captain, Cesc Fabregas, and midfielder Samir Nasri, who is on the

verge of a move to Manchester City. Arsenal were also fined

£30,000 by the Football Association on Tuesday for failing to

control their players against Newcastle – who were given the same

punishment – on the opening weekend of the season.