Wenger to receive apology for bottle debacle

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LONDON - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is to receive an apology from the head of the Premier League referees' body Keith Hackett after his dismissal just before the end of his side's 2-1 defeat at Manchester United on Saturday.

Wenger was sent to the stands when fourth official Lee Probert called over referee Mike Dean after the Arsenal manager kicked a water bottle along the touchline after Arsenal were denied a late equaliser for offside.

But the decision provoked a ludicrous situation when Wenger found himself with nowhere to go, briefly standing on a platform with his arms raised asking the referee where he wanted him to stand. The farce ended seconds later when the referee blew the final whistle.

British media reported on Sunday that Richard Bevan, the chief executive of the League Managers Association has spoken to Hackett and been told that Wenger will receive an apology from the Premier Game Match Officials Board which authorises officials to officiate top-flight games in England.

On the decision to penalise Wenger, Bevan said: "Although correct in 'law', it was completely out of context in the game and it was followed by the nonsense over where Arsene Wenger should sit."

He added: "I've spoken to Keith Hackett and he fully recognises the situation was an error and an apology will follow to Arsene Wenger.

"Lee Probert totally failed to manage the situation and created a needless pressure point taking the focus from what was happening on the pitch.

United won the game 2-1 with goals from Wayne Rooney (penalty) and an own goal from Abou Diaby after Andrei Arshavin had put Arsenal ahead before they went on to lose their first match of the season.