Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has been charged by the FA for his attack on the standard of refereeing in the Premier League after a controversial penalty was awarded to West Bromwich Albion by match official Mike Dean in the closing minutes of the 1-1 draw at The Hawthorns.
Wenger insisted in a pre-match press conference ahead of Arsenal’s derby game against Chelsea that he wants to see referees take “sharp action” on the field instead.
“This is the 1950s, where the guy talks to him: ‘If you’re not nice, I might punish you.’ Come on, let’s not waste time,” he said on Tuesday.
“What does it help for the game? Nothing. Nothing happens. People want crisp, sharp action, and the referee has to make sure that that happens. They want to see: ‘Come on, let’s get on with it and play.’ That’s our responsibility. We don’t live in the dark ages.”
With just a minute left in the game against West Brom, Calum Chambers was harshly penalised for handball as Kieran Gibbs tried to lift the ball over the Arsenal defender, giving Jay Rodriguez the chance to equalise from the spot and prompting a furious reaction from Wenger.
It was alleged that his conduct in the match officials’ changing room at The Hawthorns was abusive and that he questioned the integrity of the referee.
“It wasn’t a penalty. There was no handball,” Wenger said after setting a Premier League record of 811 games in charge after the game. “It was not a deliberate handball. When you are as close as that, it’s impossible to play football. You go in the box, they just lift the ball to the arm of the player and it’s a penalty. He didn’t lift his hand. Where do you put your hands? You have no pockets in your shorts.”
“I’m angry because we have seen the same things again. I did fight very hard for the referees to become professional many years ago and they did a good job to allow them to be professional. But I see no improvement.”
“There are two countries in Europe where you have professional referees, in Italy and in England, and not one English referee will go to the World Cup. But everything is all right. We cannot say a word against it because they’re untouchable. That is the truth. It’s not only me that judges them.”