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Wenger banned for three games over ref comments


London (AFP) – Arsene Wenger was on Friday handed a three-match touchline ban and fined by the Football Association over comments he made about the refereeing of Sunday’s Premier League game against West Brom.

In a separate case, the Arsenal boss has also been asked by English football’s governing body to provide his observations on what he said about penalty decisions that went against the Gunners in each of their past two matches over the festive period, against the Baggies and Chelsea.

“Arsene Wenger will serve a touchline ban for Arsenal’s next three matches after he was charged with misconduct,” an FA statement said.

“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 ($54,000).”

The veteran French coach was furious after the 1-1 draw at the Hawthorns on New Year’s Eve, when Arsenal defender Calum Chambers was penalised by referee Mike Dean for a handball that resulted in the home side scoring a last minute spot-kick equaliser.

Arsenal conceded another penalty in their Premier League fixture against Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday, when Eden Hazard went down following a challenge from Hector Bellerin.

The match ended 2-2 after defender Bellerin thrashed home an equaliser in stoppage time.

Wenger will start his touchline ban for Sunday’s FA Cup third-round tie at Nottingham Forest. His ban will also cover the League Cup semi-final first leg at Chelsea on January 10 and next weekend’s Premier League trip to Bournemouth.

Nottingham Forest wasted little time in teasing Wenger over his ban.

“Mr Wenger, if you’d like to upgrade your stand ticket to a hospitality package then you can do so by following this link. #NFFC,” the club said on its official Twitter account.

The link provided Wenger with a list of the hospitality packages on offer for the match.

Wenger was asked about his controversial comments during a press conference on Friday ahead of Sunday’s match at the City Ground.

“I maintain what I said in the press conference (after the Chelsea game) — 100 per cent. I have nothing to change in that,” said the Gunners boss.

“I’ve been in England for 21 years and I try to serve this game with honesty and integrity and when I have something to say I will say it. On that front, nothing will change, never.”

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