Wenger launches attack at referees; calls for rule change

Date published: Wednesday 3rd January 2018 8:41

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has criticised Premier League referees by claiming they are stuck in the 1950s in the way they still mollycoddle players.

Wenger also called on the game’s authorities to simplify the handball rule after the late penalty Arsenal conceded to West Brom on Sunday when the ball struck Calum Chambers on his arm.

The Football Association has charged Wenger following his conduct in the referees’ changing room after the match and he now has until 6pm on Friday to respond.

Wenger pointedly said Mike Dean “saw what he wanted to see” at the Hawthorns and believes referees in England need to sharpen up.

“For me, they have to serve the game like we have to serve the game, and to try to give positive emotions to people who love football in the stand,” Wenger said.

“It’s not [appropriate] any more, in 2018, that the guy calls a player, speaks half a minute, or a minute to him, to say, ‘Look, you have to behave properly.’ That is gone.

“That is not the rhythm of a modern society. People want crisp, sharp action, and the referee has to make sure that that happens.

“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.

“What does it help for the game? Nothing. Nothing happens. People who sit in the stand don’t want to see that. 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.”

Handballs have become increasingly problematic for Premier League referees, with Jose Mourinho lamenting Craig Pawson’s decision not to give Manchester United a penalty on Saturday against Southampton’s Maya Yoshida.

FA rules state a handball must be a “deliberate act” and the distance between the opponent and ball should also be considered.

Wenger said: “FA rules change always during the season because they must watch the television and say ‘oh, he has given penalty – maybe next time I do it as well’.

“They need a clear guidance. I personally think you have to make the rules as simple as possible.”

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