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Arsenal Manager Mikel Arteta cleared after FA charge

Mikel Arteta cleared by FA Commission over post-match comments following Arsenal's defeat to Newcastle United.

In an interview with Sky Sports on November 4, the manager of Arsenal was charged under FA regulation E3.1 after he criticized the choice to allow Anthony Gordon’s winning goal for Newcastle United.

“It’s a disgrace,” Arteta told Sky Sports.

“It’s embarrassing. That’s how I feel and that’s how everybody feels in that [dressing] room. You cannot imagine the amount of messages we’ve got saying this cannot continue. It’s embarrassing. I’m sorry, embarrassing.”

“I feel sick. That’s how I feel. I feel sick to be part of this. It is not good enough and we cannot accept that.”

According to the FA, Arteta committed misconduct with his remarks because they were derogatory to match officials, harmful to the game, and/or brought the sport into disrepute. However, the independent Regulatory Commission concluded that the accusation lacked evidence.

The three main issues of contention surrounding the goal were whether Joelinton fouled Gabriel to aid the goal, if Joe Willock of Newcastle had moved the ball out of play during the build-up, and whether Gordon was offside before scoring.

The FA’s written reasons for Arteta avoiding a charge said he only had two issues with the goal: the foul on Gabriel and whether the ball went out of play.

The written reasons also stated that:

  • Arteta did not mean to insult with his use of the word ‘disgrace’ as the Spanish word ‘desgracia’ has a different meaning to the English word.
  • Arteta has made “considerable efforts” to improve VAR with the PGMOL and other stakeholders, as the technology is “below necessary standards.”.
  • Arteta attended a “wholly unproductive” meeting with the PGMOL on November 2 – two days before the Newcastle game.
  • In his evidence, Arteta revealed that Willock, who used to play under Arteta, told the Arsenal players that the ball had indeed gone out of play.
  • The FA charged Arteta for using improper language despite using the same ‘highlighted words’ as other managers who had not been charged.

Sky Sports News understands the FA will not appeal against the decision of the independent Regulatory Commission that cleared Arteta of the misconduct charge he faced.

Either side has the right to appeal against a commission decision, but any appeal has to be lodged within a certain time frame of the decision, and that deadline has now passed.

The FA wrote to Mikel Arteta through Arsenal to express its “concern” with his post-match comments at St James’ Park in three separate interviews.

In one of the examples, Mikel Arteta says,

“It’s embarrassing what happens and how this goal stands, in the Premier League, in what we say is the best league in the world.”

“We really have to think about that deeply. Because I have been 20 years in this country and now I feel ashamed. It’s an absolute disgrace. You look at it on the TV and it’s an absolute disgrace.”

In his response, the Arsenal manager explained that part of his interview had been lost in translation because the English “disgrace” has a different meaning to the Spanish ‘desgracia’.

He wrote: “[The word disgrace] has a very similar spelling and pronunciation to the Spanish ‘desgracia’ … the Spanish word has connotations of misfortune, tragedy or bad luck rather than the connotations of the English equivalent, which suggest contempt, dishonour or disrespect.”

“While the English meaning may lead to interpretations of abuse or insult, this was not the intended meaning of the comments.”

The written reasons stated that Arteta and Arsenal wrote a letter to the commission on November 13, nine days after the Newcastle match.

Mikel Arteta said that he had made “considerable efforts” in the past to help the PGMOL and its chief refereeing officer Howard Webb to improve the standards of refereeing and VAR.

However, despite the Arsenal manager’s efforts, it has “failed to produce any meaningful improvements”, according to Arteta’s letter.

The written reasons also made a reference to the mistake made by VAR in disallowing Luis Diaz’s goal for Liverpool against Tottenham on September 30.

In his evidence, Arteta said he attended a meeting with the PGMOL and Webb on November 2, along with Premier League representatives and the majority of the other top-flight managers.

The Arsenal manager described the meeting, which took place two days before the Newcastle match, as “wholly unproductive”.

The written reasons revealed after the game that the Spaniard reviewed the footage of Newcastle’s goal and that it “reinforced his belief” that the goal should not have stood.

In his evidence, the Arsenal manager also revealed that Willock, who played under Arteta at the north London club between December 2019 and July 2021, told his former Gunners team-mates that he had indeed taken the ball out of play.

Arteta said those two matters “increased… his sense of injustice and frustration” ahead of going into his Sky Sports interview and press conference.

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