Arsène Wenger and the FA’s “over-reaction”

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
September 26th, 2003 • 10:56 pm

Can you really blame Arsenal’s manager Arsène Wenger for complaining that the media and the Football Association have “over-reacted” following the incidents at Old Trafford last Sunday?

After all, no fewer than six first-team players have been charged for “violent conduct” or “improper conduct”. Yet what actually happened on the pitch? Tempers flared up and a number of players started pushing and shoving.

I have seen this happen again and again on the pitch during EPL matches, usually following a bad tackle by someone that the other team didn’t like at all. You often get a brawl with about half of the players of each time fighting and the other half trying to separate them.

What does the referee usually do in such cases? He usually gives a yellow or red card to the author of the tackle, and a yellow card here and there to the players who over-reacted — and that’s it.

You just don’t see half-a-dozen players from the same team sanctioned with yellow or red cards, and certainly nobody except for the author of the bad tackle incurs a suspension.

And now in this particular brawl we get all these charges against Arsenal players. Why the difference?

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think the Arsenal players behaved appropriately. But isn’t the reaction out of proportion? Why are the Arsenal players especially targeted when this type of brawl involving multiple players, with pushing and shoving and yelling and cursing, happens all the time with little or no consequence?

I’d like to understand.

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