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Wenger gets three-match ban, fined £40,000


Arsenal’s French manager Arsene Wenger. PAUL ELLIS / AFP

• Invited To Weah’s Inauguration As Liberia’s President
Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger has received a three-match touchline ban and has been fined £40,000 for his behaviour in the referee’s changing room following last Sunday’s draw at West Bromwich.

Wenger was furious after referee Mike Dean awarded the Baggies a late penalty for handball when a cross by Kieran Gibbs struck Calum Chambers at close range.He confronted Dean after the match, launching a foul-mouthed tirade after Jay Rodriguez converted the penalty to nick a 1-1 draw.

Wenger was charged by the Football Association earlier in the week and will now be absent from the Arsenal dug-out for their FA Cup third-round tie at Nottingham Forest on Sunday, Wednesday’s Carabao Cup semi-final, first leg against Chelsea and the following Sunday’s trip to Bournemouth in the FA Cup.


A statement from the FA yesterday evening read: ‘Arsene Wenger will serve a touchline ban for Arsenal’s next three matches after he was charged with misconduct.

‘It follows an Independent Regulatory Commission hearing today at which the Arsenal manager admitted that his language and behaviour in the match officials’ changing room after the West Brom game on Sunday was abusive, improper and questioned the integrity of the match referee. He was also fined £40,000.’

But that could merely be the start of Wenger’s trouble with the FA also having requested his observations over comments he made about officials before and after the 2-2 draw with Chelsea on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Wenger says he has been invited to former footballer George Weah’s inauguration as Liberia’s president. But Wenger expects to be too busy to make the trip from London for the Jan. 22 ceremony.

Wenger signed Weah for the Ligue 1 side in 1988, the striker winning the African Footballer of the Year award before joining Paris Saint-Germain in 1992.

Although Weah left Wenger and Monaco, he often credited the coach with having a significant influence on his career.Weah went on to play for AC Milan in 1995, becoming the first non-European to win the Ballon d’Or and establishing himself as one of the finest African footballers in history.

“I have been invited by George to come the day when he will be made president,” Wenger told reporters yesterday.”When you look at his life, the life of this guy is a real film. It can make a fantastic film.”I remember seeing him for first time in Monaco, looking a bit lost, knowing no one, not being rated by anyone, but then becoming the best player in the world and today becoming president of his country.

“It’s unbelievable. He was always strong mentally, convinced he was on a mission. I saw how much he suffered for his country during the war when he was at Monaco.

“He had such love and care for his people. I didn’t think during that time that he’d become president, but I’ve seen him crying when there was war in Liberia.

“It’s a happy story and I hope he does well, he is an example to every footballer.”Wenger is doubtful that he will be able to attend the inauguration, though he did make a cheeky dig at the Football Association, as he has until 18:00 GMT today to answer a charge of improper conduct, which could result in a touchline ban.”Maybe if I’m suspended I will have time to go,” Wenger said to a chorus of laughter.

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Arsene Wenger
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