Arsene Wenger has been charged with misconduct by the FA, so what sort of punishment and ban is he facing?
The 67-year-old has faced plenty of criticism for the way he acted during a frustrating fixture where his side very nearly squandered two points in a match they couldn’t afford anything less than a victory in. He looked increasingly disgruntled on the sidelines and his disapproval at referee Jon Moss’ decisions during the match escalated drastically in stoppage time, to the point where he was told to leave the dugout by the official.
In footage that has been replayed on countless occasions since, Wenger was seen ‘pushing’ fourth official Anthony Taylor as stewards tried to calm down the experienced Frenchman – easier said than done.
With all of that in mind, I look at what punishment the boss is likely to receive.
Having already been charged with misconduct by the FA for verbal abuse and physical conduct with the official in question, it’s likely he’ll be fined somewhere in the region of £20-40k as a deterrent to avoid a similar situation again in future.
As for further punishment, it’s also likely that he will be given a touchline ban to show his actions are not condoned, especially from someone of responsibility in his position, who impressionable youngsters look at as role models within football today.
There is already a recurring narrative that officials are treated poorly and the fact they’re never able to justify their decisions post-match means they are rarely defended or protected from harsh criticism if they do make mistakes.
Media coverage on the subject itself is never a good thing either: the fact that plenty of outlets have already sensationalised the story makes the whole issue seem more significant than it is. Of course, his behaviour wasn’t acceptable and you expect better from someone of Wenger’s experience but, equally, it’s not as bad as some have reported it and certainly doesn’t deserve a 10-game ban as touted by some in the media.
The fact that Wenger had already apologised will probably be taken into account but might not mean much in the panel’s final decision. Ultimately, it’s much more likely that they take a more strict approach with him given the fact that they’re trying to impose tougher sanctions for disrespect within football – something that is harder to implement when club managers themselves are getting into trouble for needless incidents such as these.
Wenger ban length – the precedents
Alan Pardew was given a two-match touchline ban and fined £20k for pushing an assistant referee during a game against Tottenham in 2012 whilst Paolo di Canio received an 8-game ban for pushing referee, Paul Alcock in a game against Arsenal.
Wenger will likely get a three or four-match touchline ban and a fine in the region mentioned above, although there is a chance he could be punished more harshly, which would send a statement out to the rest of the Premier League in terms of future conduct for both staff and the players themselves.
Pardew got a 2-game ban for shoving an assistant ref, so that's 8 for a ref, 2 for an assistant. I make a fourth official worth 45 minutes
— Daily Cannon (@DailyCannon) January 23, 2017