EPL

Mikel Arteta wants managers and referees to work together to improve football

By Sports Desk December 15, 2023

Mikel Arteta has called for managers and referees to work together to improve the game after the Arsenal boss avoided punishment for a recent outburst.

The Spaniard was charged by the Football Association after labelling the decision to award Anthony Gordon’s goal in a 1-0 defeat to Newcastle last month a “disgrace” and “embarrassing”.

It was announced on Thursday afternoon, however, that Arteta had escaped a fine or a touchline ban after an independent panel ruled the FA charge E3.1 was not proven.

Arteta, who returns to the dugout this week having been suspended for last weekend’s loss at Aston Villa after picking up three yellow cards, said he was pleased with the process.

He also explained why he was so passionate in the aftermath of the defeat at St James’ Park and cited the record number of Premier League managerial sackings last season as a reason why making the correct refereeing decisions is important in the long-term.

“I think it was a really good, well-run process,” he said.

“It gave the opportunity for both of us to say how we felt and the reasons behind it. OK, the outcome is that I’m not charged, but I think we have to draw a line now and look at how we can be more constructive and learn from it and move forward.

“I felt a lot of sympathy to be fair as I explained the pressure we feel as managers and how important details are for our job. I love what I do so much and I want to continue doing it. The reality was that 14 managers lost their jobs and we depend on results.

“When the outcome is that important we get really emotional about it. Nobody remembers three weeks ago when you lost a game because of a certain reason. So, I think it was a really good process.

“It was done. I defended my opinion. I expressed my opinion. I’m fully supportive of how we have to improve the game. Refs are a big part of that and they know that.

“Managers are a big part of that. We have the duty to do that. It’s good to discuss things in an open and honest way. This is what I tried to do.

“It’s not about them, it’s we. We want to do the game better. It’s about how we can improve on the touchline to make life easier from the players’ side, their (officials) side, technology-wise and the clubs. It’s all about us. We’re all in this together, it’s not about separate people trying to do their bits. That’s not going to work, we have to do it together.”

Part of the FA’s charge that was dismissed by the panel was the suggestion that Arteta’s profile as a Premier League manager should have been taken into consideration – given how far his comments would travel.

Previous FA charges against the likes of David Moyes, Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp have also cited their high-profile positions as reason for punishment following their respective indiscretions.

“We have a huge duty,” he replied when asked if those managers should be held to a higher standard.

“It’s part of our role to conduct ourselves in the best way and represent the game, our league and our clubs in the best possible way.

“This is what we try to do everyday. Sometimes better, sometimes worse but it is our intention (to do our best).”

Arteta also attended a meeting of the PGMOL, the Premier League and other Premier League managers two days before the Newcastle game – where the issue of VAR was on the agenda.

The written reasons published by the independent panel suggested Arteta had “participated” in the meeting and this was taken into account when he then criticised VAR and officiating on November 4.

But Arteta was tight-lipped when asked what he had brought to the table at the meeting.

“Those are private meetings that I can’t explain what we discussed. I’m sorry,” he said.

The ruling of the panel means Arteta will be on the touchline throughout Arsenal’s festive programme, starting with Sunday’s visit of Brighton.

“They are a really good side,” Arteta said of the Seagulls – whose 3-0 win at the Emirates Stadium last season all-but ended Arsenal’s title hopes.

“It’s true that last year when we had the game in control, we conceded and then the game completely broke up and we struggled in the last 15 minutes of of the game. We’ll have to play better and be very efficient which is key against them.”

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