Wenger baffled by UEFA charge

Wenger has also labelled European football’s governing body

arrogant and a “dictatorship”. The Gunners manager and midfielder

Samir Nasri have been charged for “inappropriate language” towards

Swiss referee Massimo Busacca after the final whistle at the Nou

Camp, where Arsenal lost 3-1 after having striker Robin van Persie

controversially sent off. Busacca caused uproar by showing van

Persie a second yellow card for shooting at goal just one second

after he had blown the whistle for offside – the Dutch forward

claimed he had not heard it due to the noise of the 95,000-plus

crowd. Wenger confronted the Swiss official after the final whistle

over the sending-off and angry exchanges continued inside the

tunnel. The disciplinary case will be heard by UEFA on Thursday

March 17, where the Arsenal manager is sure to mount a staunch

defence. The whole incident has overshadowed what was a fine

performance by Barcelona, who dominated possession as Arsenal

failed to muster a single shot on goal on Tuesday night.

Nevertheless, Wenger remains unrepentant and insists he has no case

to answer. Speaking ahead of what is a crunch FA Cup quarter-final

against Manchester United on Saturday, Wenger said: “Who has been

punished is Arsenal football club. “We are out of the Champions

League, we have lost one of our big ambitions, we have been

punished with a lot of damages and on top of that, we have to say

sorry to UEFA. “We have done nothing wrong. They organised the

competition, they named the referees who come to the games. “When

you have a football game of that stature, you cannot come out with

decisions like that and show a lot of arrogance on top of that. “We

can all understand that we can make wrong decisions, but after that

it becomes dictatorship. It’s not any more common sense.” Wenger is

no stranger to confrontations with the authorities. Earlier this

season, the Frenchman was fined £8,000 by the Football

Association and served a one-match touchline ban after he

sarcastically patted fourth official Martin Atkinson on the back

following Darren Bent’s late stoppage-time equaliser at Sunderland,

as well as being critical in his post-match comments. However, on

his latest disciplinary run-in, the Arsenal manager is adamant

there should be no case to answer. “I deny completely any charge, I

don’t understand where that comes from,” he said. “It is a shame

the referee took the decision to send Robin van Persie off because

it was the wrong decision. “The first game was a fantastic advert

for football and the second game has been destroyed. The only thing

that people remember is that the sending off killed the game.”

Wenger added: “A bit more humility would do UEFA some good, to

apologise for what happened would be much better than charge people

who have done nothing wrong. “This decision frustrated us and

frustrated everybody who loves football.” There have been

suggestions Wenger swore at Busacca, who is reported to have not

held back either. The Arsenal boss, though, would not divulge any

firm details of the alleged exchanges. “I will keep that for UEFA

if they really want to know because I will have some interesting

statements to make about some statements made by people who were

not supposed to say what they said,” he said. “You can check any

statement I made on television after the game. If I have done

anything wrong, I am ready to be charged. “As for what is said in

the tunnel, if you can get only one thing where I have come out on

what has been said against me or against the referee during my 15

years in England, I will pay for you to have a big holiday.” UEFA

are aware of Thursday’s comments from Wenger, with their

disciplinary case into post-match events at the Nou Camp set to be

heard next week. However, it remains to be seen whether his latest

outburst will bring any additional charges from the governing body.