What happens now that Arsene Wenger is charged with misconduct for shoving ref?
After shoving a referee over the weekend, Arsene Wenger has been charged with misconduct by England’s Football Association. The FA announced Monday that Wenger's refusal to leave the tunnel when asked and physical contact with the referee "amounted to improper conduct."
That, of course, isn’t a surprise since a coach putting his hands on a referee is clearly grounds for punishment. The question now is how harsh his punishment should be.
Wenger has until Thursday to appeal the charge before a punishment is doled out, but some former referees in England say he deserve a lengthy ban.
Keith Hackett, a former Premier League referee before retiring in 1994, argued Monday that the FA should make an example out of Wenger to protect “every official at every level."
"They need to send out a strong, clear message — officials are sacrosanct and if you lay hands on them you will pay a heavy price,” he wrote in the Telegraph.
"What I would like to see as an absolute minimum is a six-game ban — but a far more severe punishment than simply being banished from the touchline,” he added. "Instead, I would like to see Wenger barred from any contact with his team once inside the stadium.”
Graham Poll, who retired as a Premier League ref in 2007, agreed, arguing that Wenger had no right to argue with the ref at Sunday’s match vs. Burnley because Arsenal benefitted from the ref’s calls.
"Wenger must surely face a lengthy touchline ban after he inexplicably went berserk and shoved fourth official Anthony Taylor,” Poll wrote in the Daily Mail.
He added: "Wenger and his team have benefited from plenty of 'close calls' by officials this season and he should have remembered that and stayed calm."
It’s not often that coaches put their hands on officials in the Premier League, but we can look at 2013 as one case study — Blackpool coach Paul Ince was handed a five-match stadium ban for shoving a fourth official.
Ultimately, the decision is up to the FA. Wenger does have until Thursday to appeal his misconduct charge, but he has already admitted to and apologized for the shove.
“I regret everything,” Wenger said. “I should have shut up, gone in and gone home. I apologize for that.”
He may soon be regretting it a whole lot more, depending what the FA does.
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