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12th Dec 2016

Manchester United fans are demanding FA action on Arsene Wenger for this push

One rule for Mourinho, another for Wenger?

Rob Burnett

Double standards? Or a storm in a tea cup?

Arsenal came from behind to beat Stoke City 3-1 at the Emirates on Saturday – a result which briefly sent them top of the Premier League, before Chelsea’s 1-0 victory over West Brom on Sunday saw them leapfrog the Gunners back to top spot.

But it was not the result which angered Manchester United fans.

Instead their fury was directed at the officials and the FA for an incident midway through the first half, when the fourth official stepped into Arsene Wenger’s technical area. Wenger responded by pushing him back – and United fans were quick to point out what they saw as hypocrisy after their boss Jose Mourinho was given a touchline ban for kicking a water bottle during a match against West Ham.

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Now, we aren’t allowed to show you the incident because of scary Premier League rules, but if you missed it, it wasn’t the most violent of actions, really amounting to little more than a gentle push.

But that is unlikely to placate United fans angry at what they see as double standards when it comes to Mourinho.

In July the Premier League issued new behaviour guidelines designed to improve the treatment of officials.

A statement on the official website read:

“The English football authorities have noticed over the past four seasons that intolerable behaviour by players and managers in their competitions have reached unacceptable levels in certain areas.

“Therefore the Premier League, EFL and The FA have announced a collective undertaking to improve behaviour across the game.

“This will focus on behaviour towards match officials, with the aim of reducing disrespectful conduct such as aggressively challenging decisions or running from distance to confront an official.”

One section specifically addressed physical contact with officials, stating that players would receive:

  • A yellow card for physical contact with any match official in a non-aggressive manner (e.g. an inquisitive approach to grab the official’s attention).
  • A red card for physical contact with match officials in an aggressive or confrontational manner.

And although that section is written for players, the statement also reiterated that:

“The requirements of the Technical Area Code of Conduct will be more rigorously enforced for players and club staff.”

The FA have so far made no comment on Wenger’s actions.

Catch up with this week’s episode of Football Friday Live: