Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Wenger fires blast at UEFA and ‘incompetent’ ref

Arsene Wenger believes UEFA need to overhaul the way they choose referees after accusing Sweden's Martin Hansson of being “incompetent.”

The Arsenal manager also backed his under-fire goalkeepers and promised the club would support Lukasz Fabianski following his two howlers which led to Arsenal's 2-1 defeat against Porto in the Champions League.

Wenger insisted Fabianski would play against Sunderland at the Emirates today if Manuel Almunia did not come through a fitness test on his injured finger.

But Wenger trained his fire on Europe's referees after reiterating his view that Hansson was wrong to allow Porto's second goal on Wednesday after giving an indirect free-kick in the box following a back pass by Sol Campbell which Fabianski picked up.

Wenger said: “It has to be clarified first of all how they nominate referees for games. They (UEFA) have to be much more open on how they rate their referees.

“Where is the ranking of the referees?”

When asked if Hansson, who missed Thierry Henry's notorious hand ball in France's World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland, should be refereeing at Champions League level Wenger said: “I trust the referees to do their job and to do it well. In this case I cannot say that he made everything right because he was wrong.

“It's not my job to judge is he good enough or not, I just feel in that game he has shown he is not competent.

“He made at least five technical mistakes for a referee. He made a massive mistake. You cannot give a quick free-kick once the referee is in the middle of the action.

“Once he is there in the middle, where the free-kick is, he cannot anymore give a free-kick, he has to make sure the opponent is at nine metres distance.

“I believe he is incompetent or dishonest, so I prefer to believe he is not competent.”

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