Arsene Wenger has been given a three-match touchline ban for his comments to Mike Dean after the official robbed Arsenal of all three points at the Hawthornes.
The manager has also been fined £40k after admitting that his “language and behaviour was abusive, improper and questioned the integrity of the match referee”.
Wenger will serve his ban during Arsenal’s games against Nottingham Forest (FA Cup), Chelsea (Carabao Cup semi-final first leg) and Bournemouth (Premier League). All games are away from home.
The Telegraph said that that the Gunners were trying to fast-track the process so the manager could serve his punishment quickly. Arsenal finalised their response on Thursday night, so a commission could meet on Friday, even though Wenger didn’t need to respond until Tuesday.
The Arsenal manager has, of course, had touchline bans before.
Earlier this year, the FA gave him a four-match ban and a £25,000 fine for misconduct.
In all his 21 years with the Gunners, Wenger has never had a stadium ban. The press speculated wildly again that this could be the outcome for Wenger but, unfortunately for them, they will have to continue waiting.
What’s the difference between a stadium ban and a touchline ban?
A touchline ban means a manager can’t sit on the bench.
However, they can still attend the game. They’re also allowed to get involved in pre-match preparations, and communicate with staff over the phone. The rules are slightly different with UEFA, and Wenger got in trouble in 2011 for communicating with the bench via phone.
The FA rules explicitly state that you “may communicate with others within the dug-out” but “only by means of either a telephone or with the use of a ‘runner'”.
A stadium ban is much more strict.
A manager with a stadium ban can’t enter the ground before, during or after the game.
They also can’t communicate with staff during the game (so no half-time Skype session).
They can’t even help with setup on match day.
For example, putting the nets up before a game would be a breach of the ban. Unlike with a touchline ban, Steve Bould would have to take over the tactical side in its entirety on the day.
Arsene Wenger joked in his pre-Nottingham Forest press conference that he might visit Liberian President-elect George Weah’s if he’s suspended.