Fans could threaten legal action, says Wenger
Date published: Saturday 11th March 2017 11:30
Arsene Wenger believes footballing authorities could face future legal action if they fail to introduce video replays into the game.
The Frenchman sees his Arsenal side take on non-league Lincoln in the FA Cup sixth-round of Saturday – the competition the International Football Association Board (IFAB) is targeting to trial video technology in for next season.
Wenger has long-been an advocate for the introduction of measures to assist officials and his argument only gathered steam after a number of high-profile incidents in the last week.
The Gunners crashed out of the Champions League after losing 5-1 to Bayern Munich on Tuesday night, but they were denied a penalty when leading 1-0.
Just 24 hours later, Barcelona were breaking records as they recovered from a 4-0 defeat to beat Paris St Germain 6-1 to advance into the quarter-finals – but two of those goals came from dubious penalties.
Add to that Anthony Taylor awarding Burnley a penalty in their Premier League game at Swansea last weekend despite the ball clearly hitting the arm of a visiting player and the call for technology has increased in volume.
IFAB approved use of a fourth substitute in this weekend’s FA Cup quarter-finals if they go to extra-time and now the plan is to bring in a video assistant referee system from next year’s third round.
And Wenger reckons it cannot come soon enough for supporters and television companies who invest so much in the game.
“Honestly I’m believing that in the next five years if UEFA does not bring video in they could face legal action from television or from fans because they refuse to progress for the right decisions,” he said.
“The fans and television companies pay a lot of money and they spoil the package because they don’t do the maximum to give a fair spectacle.
“If they don’t go further, that is what will happen because we live in a society that is legalist and what people pay is more and more.
“If UEFA and FIFA don’t take that step to go for more justice, they can’t offer what we saw for us against Bayern or the night after, it is indefensible.”
Wenger is under-fire following a run of five defeats in seven games and has yet to decide whether he will extend his stay at the Emirates Stadium beyond the end of the current season.
Lincoln could make it a week to forget for the 67-year-old after losses to Liverpool and Bayern left Arsenal with the FA Cup as the only genuine trophy on offer.
And Wenger admits his side, as the heavy favourites, will have to deal with the pressure against the Vanarama National League leaders.
“The FA Cup is the next game, and of course, when you’ve had a disappointment like we had in the last game, it’s important to respond,” he said.
“We are favourites, but when you are at a big club, you are favourites 90 per cent of the time, and you have to deal with that.
“It’s the next game and in the next game, people expect us to win, so there’s a pressure there of course.”