Arsene Wenger has been charged by the English Football Association for comments made about referee Mike Dean, in the aftermath of Sunday’s 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion.
“It is alleged (Wenger’s) language and/or behaviour in the match officials’ changing room after the game was abusive and/or improper and/or questioned the integrity of the match referee,” read the FA statement.
The Arsenal manager was incandescent with rage after Mike Dean awarded a controversial penalty for handball. A cross from Kieran Gibbs struck the hand of Calum Chambers, who has two years away and had his hands in front of his body.
Jay Rodriguez converted the penalty, and Albion took a point from the game as a result. In the media after the game, Wenger addressed the diminishing standard of refereeing, saying: “It’s disappointing to see that but what can we do?
“We can talk and talk and talk but it doesn’t change anything. The Premier League doesn’t face the problem. We fought very hard (for referees) to go professional, but the level hasn’t gone up. It’s difficult to accept.”
However, this charge relates to Wenger having gone into the referee’s changing room, allegedly abusing Dean and questioning his integrity – a potentially serious allegation.
It’s not the first time Wenger has criticised referees this season, nor will it likely be the last, but he could be in line for a touchline ban and hefty fine if found guilty.
Wenger has until 18:00 GMT on Friday to respond to the Football Association. He wasn’t the only one openly angry with the officiating on Sunday either, with Petr Cech seen swearing about Mike Dean after the weekend stalemate.
Arsenal will have to maintain their focus, however, as they face Chelsea in the Premier League on Wednesday evening.