Wenger: I’ve the right to be demanding of refs

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Just what you’ve been waiting for…Arsene Wenger talking about referees. Again.

This time, ahead of Sunday’s trip to Nottingham Forest, the boss touches on the request by the FA to explain his comments before and after the Chelsea game, his response to the charge handed to him after the West Brom game and his take on Video Assistant Referees being used in the FA Cup.

There’s a report doing the rounds that the boss is leaning towards accepting a stadium ban for Sunday’s trip to the City Ground. If true it would be the first time Wenger has missed a game while in charge at Arsenal.

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On if he’s been asked to explain his comments about the Chelsea game…

First of all, yes I’ve been asked [by the FA to explain comments after the Chelsea game]. I maintain what I said in the press conference, 100 percent. I’ve nothing to change on that. Basically, nothing has changed. I’ve been in England 21 years. I tried to serve this game with honesty and integrity and when I have something to say, I say it. On that front, nothing will change, never.

On standing by his statement that the Hazard penalty was ‘farcical’…

100 percent. I respect everybody’s opinion. I think it was a yellow card for Hazard, 100 percent. I have a right to have my opinion. I respect everybody’s opinion.

On Wilshere diving…

Yes, maybe he did. Why should that change my opinion on the penalty? It’s nothing to do with it. Every situation is different that is to be assessed by the referee. After that you have your opinion and I have my opinion. I’m long enough in the game to know everybody can have a different opinion.

On decisions against his side being ‘more than a coincidence’…

I have nothing to add to that. I maintain what I said. We can talk and talk and spend always time on talking about things that are not really important in the game. What we want to see is big football games, big players on the football pitch and we want them to be reffed by top quality people. I think I contributed a lot to give the referees a great opportunity to be at their best because I had a huge influence on the fact they became professional or not. I believe I had more influence on that and a positive one. That’s why I can be demanding. That’s what I want from them, to be at their top. I’m quite surprised that that is shocking.

On contesting his charge for comments after the West Brom game…

I don’t know. At the moment, I’m focused on football. All this fuss…you imagine that I’m 21 years in the game and [from] what I’ve seen and heard in the corridors from people, you can understand why I’m surprised and shocked by having been charged.

On VAR being used in the FA Cup and in the Carabao Cup against Chelsea…

I fight for the video for over 10 years. I can only be positive. It can create jobs as well for former referees who can continue their work and have their influence.

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