Wenger: UEFA rules which cup-tie Aubameyang make ‘no sense’


Because of UEFA rules, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cannot play for Arsenal in the Europa League this season, despite the fact he hasn’t appeared in the competition thus far.

However, because his former club Borussia Dortmund were catapulted into the tournament having finished third in their Champions League group, the 28 year is prohibited from playing for his new club.

It’s a silly rule, really, and one that Arsene Wenger insists all clubs want to see changed, not least because of the price of players in the transfer market these days.

Speaking ahead of the Gunners game against Ostersunds FK tomorrow night, the Arsenal manager said, “Unanimously, I believe that all the clubs agree now this rule has to disappear in Europe.

“Especially because for example he played Dortmund, Dortmund has been reversed in the Europa League and he cannot play.

“When you look at the transfer amounts you spend now, that you have to spend £50m, £60m, £70m in the middle of the season, that the players cannot play doesn’t make sense.

“Unanimously everywhere in Europe now the clubs are against this rule.”

It’s a rule that Arsenal were obviously aware of before they signed him, but it’s one which now has a more acute effect given the injury absence of Alexandre Lacazette who will miss 4-6 weeks after undergoing knee surgery.

Danny Welbeck is set to start up front tomorrow night, with only Eddie Nketiah as striking back-up on the bench.

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25 Comments on "Wenger: UEFA rules which cup-tie Aubameyang make ‘no sense’"

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Your buying team (Mslintat) and you should have figured that out before you decided to revamp the entire attack and neglect the midfield LOL.


I think without Lacazette and Aubameyang, Jack and Ramsey, possibly Koscielny, maybe better to err on safety with 3 at the back :


1) Iwobi has been excellent because he instigates and can carry the ball. Without Jack, this will be even more important for us on the counter. We have very few midfielders who can receive and turn with the ball. Iwobi is one of them. Both sets of deeper and forward midfielders on each flank should be able to cover for each other in rotation going forward and playinga triangle with the over lapping fullbacks (that we need to give us the width)

2) 50-50 whether to start the more limited but diligent Elneny or the flawed Granit.I think Granit nicks it for me since we are going 3 at the back so it should be weighted more on offensive power which he has slightly more. But both Mhki and him need to be cognisant of the gap behind the fullbacks when they go forward. Both need to take responsibility and drop slightly to cover. For that matter if they are caught up field then Iwobi and Ozil need to recognise the potential latent danger.

3) Without Koscielny (of he isn’t fit), Monreal out left seems a good experienced head to pair with Mustafi. Chambers behind Bellerin so we have potentially two “fullbacks” in MOnreal and Chambers to cober Kolasinac and Bellerin should they be caught higher up field.

4) Mhki slightly deeper nearer Granit and picking his timing to push into themiddle or swapping right with Ozil for me will add a bit more maturity in assessing when to push forward and when to drop in midfield cover. It may also allow him more durability as there is slightly less real estate to cover if we are 3 at the back with the fullbacks providing more of the width running up and down the flank. Mhki is no spring chicken at 28yrs and his stamini lagged last game against Spurs. Do not play him on the left Wenger.

5) Good luck Welbeck. We need to play to his strengths. He may give us a bot more power in the air to go route one so not too much eye of the needle stuff lads.

John C

It does make sense, it’s there to stop teams weakening direct opposition in the same competition. Whether we should have it or not is another question.


It makes no sense at all because teams that have both been in the Europa League from the start could still transfer a player between then without his being cup-tied, as long as the player hasn’t taken the field in the group stage. For example, Arsenal could have sold Ozil to Ostersunds and he would be eligible to play against Arsenal tomorrow by virtue of not having played previously in the competition. If that is allowed, how on earth can a player whose team wasn’t even in the competition be cup-tied? It’s ludicrous and it has to change.

Mayor McCheese

I take your point, but it doesn’t change John C’s. The fact is that Dortmund IS in the competition now, a fact that was known in the window, and therefore Dortmund could face Arsenal. Have we weakened them by buying their best striker? Yes.

But you highlight a discrepancy there, yes.


The Ozil example is poor because when the rules were conceived they did not anticipate a team playing their B-side in the competition, thus making their best players exempt from the rule. I think the point is fair, since teams drop from the CL to the EL, they are in a sense the same competition, and Abu was part of that Dortmund side


My argument would be the rule applies once the first round of knockouts begin, not the moment your team is confirmed in 3rd in the CL. i.e. until the first knockout game kicks off, players shouldnt be considered as cup tied when dropping down from the CL.

John C

That’s a clear loophole if true but like the transfer window these rules are often in place for the benefit of the player not club.

It’s not as if we haven’t be aware of them, i’m pretty sure in the past we haven’t played certain players we’ve been in the process of selling in Champions League qualifiers so not to cup tie them and effect their value. RVP and Nasri maybe?


I get your point and I suppose technically as Dortmund are now in the same competition as us there is some weight to the argument that the player had been registered to play in the competition regardless of whether he had actually set foot on the pitch.

What I don’t agree with is the suggestion that the Europa and Champions League are in some way the same competition.

There not. They might be both UEFA run competitions. But they each have their own champion and trophy at the end of it.

Sure the Europa is the second tier European competition. But to suggest it is the same competition is ludicrous.


@John C
How dare you use logic to try to prove your point.
Logic is not allowed here. Don’t you know that this rule was only made to weaken arsenal, I don’t know if you get the memo but in this blog the word is that the fa , referees and now the whole of Europe are conspiring against us , so now that I told you don’t try to be logical again…you’re welcome


FA means f@@k Arsenal. PGMOL means, prevent Gunners managing outstanding lead.

Mein Bergkampf

Neither does the January transfer window hey Arsene?


Given our options available – crazy really when you consider 15 days ago this wouldn’t have been an issue – and while I think Danny is a better option on the wing. We’re going to have to hope that with service from Ozil and Mkhitaryan that he can put some away.

It’s a shame we do not have Ramsey or Wilshere available as that may have given us a different option.

I still think even without Aubameyang and Lacazette we have enough to win the game. Eddie should also get some game time, which if he can hit the ground running could be a nice turn of events given a very strange season.


Eddie will step up if Danny hasn’t managed to hoick one in off his knee.


Maybe Eddie can become a hero in the Europa League like he was in the League Cup. I’d love to see at least one thing to be excited for next season.


Im quite excited by this. Our hand has been forced – its given Welbeck the chance to prove that he can LEAD our attack and a promising young player a chance he wouldn’t have dreamed about back in August. I was at the Emirates when Eddie scored 2 and he electrified the place.

Chance to create a couple of heroes and go down in history.

Charlie George and Ray Kennedy were young kids in 71…


Start Eddie, and stop annoying the fuck outa me.

George Onyango

Wenger, your team is in Europa because of you! Why should rules be changed?
I remember the your first season at Arsenal when your team had played more matches than United who had a game or two in hand but holding a slender lead. You wanted the league to be extended! Who sold Giroud?

The Squillaci Code

Aubameyang helped Dortmund finish third (barely) in their Champions League group, which is why they’ve made it to the Europa knockout stages. Had Dortmund finished fourth, they would have been knocked out of both competitions. Since he has already helped Dortmund reach this stage, it wouldn’t be fair for him to play for another team. Makes complete sense to me. It doesn’t matter that the CL group stages don’t bear the name “Europa League,” they are still a part of this tournament’s structure.


Wherever akpom is he must be seething. Some players never get the rub of the green.

Jessica Alba-Wenger

Usually I’d be looking forward to a thrashing from Barca or Bayern in the UCL knockout. Instead We Playing Oysters! Atleast we get to win during valentines week… Oh Arsenal


We could really use HFB for this one. Too bad he isn’t a Gunner anymore.


Should give Niles a shot at DM see how he looks, if that isn’t on Wenger’s mind well then he’s oblivious to our biggest problem this season.


I agree with wenger, but then again, who is going to change the UEFA?