Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger, Sami Nasri Face Charge Over Comments on Referee

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and midfielder Samir Nasri must answer an improper conduct charge over comments made to the referee following yesterday’s Champions League loss to Barcelona.

Wenger was seen complaining to Swiss referee Massimo Busacca moments after his team was eliminated following a 3-1 loss at the Camp Nou. Busacca sent off Robin van Persie early in the second half for a second yellow card when the striker shot at goal after being called for offside. Van Persie said he didn’t hear the whistle.

Wenger and Nasri will face a hearing on March 17, UEFA said.

It’s the second year in a row Arsenal has been ousted from the Champions League by Barcelona. The Spanish champion rebounded from a 2-1 first-leg loss to win the two-game Round of 16 contest on a goal from Xavi Hernandez and two from Lionel Messi. The Spanish league leader outshot Arsenal, which scored on Sergio Busquets’s own goal, 19 to 0 in a game played for the most part in the visitors’ half.

The match was tied 1-1, giving Arsenal a 3-2 aggregate lead at the time, when Van Persie was dismissed.

“The second half would have been very interesting if we had stayed 11 against 11, unfortunately it was not the case,” Wenger told Sky Sports after the match. “There are regrets when you see how we went out. It is very difficult to accept.”

The charges come a week after the Football Association opened a case against Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson over criticism of referee Martin Atkinson after a 2-1 Premier League defeat at Chelsea. Last weekend FIFA President Sepp Blatter called for greater respect for officials.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tariq Panja in London at tpanja@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.

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