Wenger charged with misconduct over clash with fourth official
Arsenal manager alleged to have abused and pushed Anthony Taylor
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger clashes with fourth official Anthony Taylor before being sent to the stands. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters
Arsène Wenger is braced to receive a touchline ban after being charged with misconduct by the English Football Association following his altercation with the fourth official, Anthony Taylor, in stoppage time at the end of Arsenal’s narrow victory over Burnley on Sunday.
Wenger is alleged to have used “abusive and/or insulting words towards the fourth official” following the referee Jon Moss’s decision to award the visitors a penalty.
Having been dismissed from the technical area for that incensed reaction, the Arsenal manager then tried to push Taylor out of the way when the official informed him that he was not allowed to watch the game play out from the corridor of the tunnel.
“It is further alleged that following his dismissal from the technical area, his behaviour in remaining in the tunnel area and making physical contact with the fourth official amounted to improper conduct,” said a statement from the FA.
The Frenchman apologised for his actions and, on that basis, is not expected to contest the charge by Thursday’s deadline of 6pm.
“I regret everything,” he said after Arsenal’s 2-1 win, secured with an even later penalty which the manager had watched elsewhere on television. “I should have shut up, gone in and gone home. I apologise for that.
“Look, it was nothing bad. I said something that you hear every day in football. Overall, nine times out of 10 you are not sent to the stand for that. If I am, I am, and I should have shut up completely. I was quite calm the whole game, more than usual. But just in the last two or three minutes ?”
Asked about the push on Taylor, Wenger added: “I was sent to the stands. I didn’t know if I was sent to the stands, but I was sent out. I thought I could watch it from the corridor, you know.”
The FA’s charge is considered to be “non-standard” because of the serious or unusual nature of the alleged behaviour, which effectively means there is no set sanction should Wenger be found guilty.
The case will be considered by an independent regulatory commission, which would have it in its power to impose a number of punishments, from a fine to a stadium ban, depending upon how serious it considers the misconduct.
José Mourinho was banned from attending Chelsea’s Premier League game at Stoke last season, and fined £40,000, by the FA after admitting a misconduct charge over his behaviour in the defeat by West Ham in October 2015.
He had been sent to the stands after going to speak to Moss, who was also refereeing that fixture, at half-time, with the misconduct charge relating to the language he used and his refusal to leave the officials’ room.
Yet the tariff set for that offence was effectively so high because it was considered an accumulation of offences by Mourinho. In Wenger’s case, it seems likelier that he would sustain a touchline suspension.