On this day in 2001, Arsene Wenger successfully appealed against a 12-match ban for violent conduct against referee Paul Taylor.
After a match against Sunderland in August 2000, Wenger was accused of threatening behaviour by Taylor, who was the fourth official. Taylor claimed that Wenger jostled, held and manhandled him in the tunnel following the 1-0 defeat to the Black Cats.
There was a hearing, which Wenger turned up to without witnesses, since he saw the matter as completely ridiculous, and it was found that although he did touch Taylor, he didn’t act in the threatening matter the official had claimed. In fact, it emerged that he’d actually been trying to break up an incident between Thierry Henry and Sunderland’s Darren Williams in the tunnel and the appeal board, which included Charles Hollander QC, Geoff Thompson (chair of the FA) and Ray Kiddell (Norfolk FA), recognised as such.
There was a second hearing, in which Thierry Henry, David Seaman and Robert Pires also told their sides of the story.
Wenger still had to pay costs because he didn’t present all evidence at the hearing and he had already been fined £10,000 for improper conduct prior to the hearing. However, he was let off the 12-match ban.
What is it about referees with the surname Taylor, eh?