Arsene Wenger is set for a ban, that is clear, but what is not is if it will be a touchline or stadium ban, with some papers seeming to be pushing for the latter.
A stadium ban would seem excessive. After all, Alan Pardew was given a two-match touchline ban when he shoved an assistant referee. The difference, these ‘journalists’ claim, is that Wenger committed three offences – abusing Jon Moss, refusing to leave the tunnel, and ‘shoving’ Anthony Taylor. Clearly he should be kicked out of the EU at the very least, right?
So why does it matter?
A stadium ban and a touchline one are two very different things with the former a much more severe penalty.
Arsene Wenger would have to watch the game from the director’s box but he would be able to deliver the team talk, both before the match and at half-time. The only thing he wouldn’t be allowed to do is manage his team from the sidelines. He can communicate with the bench via messenger or telephone.
A stadium ban is a completely different beast. Managers serving this sort of suspension are not even allowed into the stadium on match days. They are banned from giving any sort of team talk ahead of the match or during it and are not even allowed to enter after the game has finished. He’s not even allowed to help the ground staff put up the nets, if he was so inclined.
Given the way Wenger behaved, he certainly deserves to face punishment. But did he really act in a manner that should result in a total ban from the ground on match days?
Should the FA apply this excessive punishment to Wenger for more than just a handful of games, they will open a massive can of words around the unaccountability of referees and the FA’s insistence that they must be protected above all else.
That, in itself, might not be a bad thing at all. Not having Wenger available in the stadium on a match day would be.