Poll: Wenger apology alarming

Former Premier League referee Graham Poll has backed referee Mike Dean and fourth official Lee Probert's actions at Old Trafford last weekend, in which Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was sent from the dug-out.

The Frenchman was dismissed in the closing stages of the 2-1 defeat to Manchester United for kicking a water bottle along the touchline after the Gunners were denied a late equaliser for offside.

But the ruling only led to a ridiculous situation with Wenger unsure of where to go, briefly standing atop a platform behind the dug-out among baiting home supporters before the final whistle blew moments later.

Richard Bevan, chief executive of the League Managers Association, later revealed that Wenger would receive an apology from the Premier Game Match Officials Board which authorises officials to officiate top-flight games in England.

However, Poll, who took charge of more than 1,500 matches in England but became famous for dishing out three yellow cards to Croatia's Josep Simunic during the 2006 World Cup, believes the match officials acted correctly.

“According to Bevan, referees' boss Keith Hackett will issue Arsene Wenger an apology regarding his sending-off at Old Trafford by Mike Dean with seconds remaining.

“If that is true, I find it alarming,” he said in the Daily Mail.

“That Wenger was dismissed so late is irrelevant; the timing has no bearing in Law. Neither does the fact that Wenger did not know where to go.

“If there is a next time it might be worth Wenger remembering that Law requires the manager to leave the technical area and the vicinity of the field of play.

"I expect Probert had been forced to warn the Arsenal manager about his comments and conduct on several occasions and had reached a point of no return.

“Hackett's apology will be seen as an excuse for fourth officials in future to 'cock a deaf 'un' to managers' complaints.”


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