Belfast Telegraph

Bottle incident leaves Unai Emery in hot water

Arsenal head coach charged by Football Association for kicking water bottle into Brighton fans.

Unai Emery could face a touchline ban after kicking a water bottle into the fans at Brighton (Gareth Fuller/PA)
Unai Emery could face a touchline ban after kicking a water bottle into the fans at Brighton (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Unai Emery has been hit with a Football Association charge of improper conduct after the Arsenal head coach kicked a water bottle into the crowd during his side’s draw at Brighton.

The Spaniard immediately apologised to a supporter, who was also given the shirt of Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny as a gesture by the club.

Emery went to speak to the home fan following the incident and at full-time after the Gunners drew 1-1 at the Amex Stadium on Boxing Day.

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Emery spoke to the supporter after the game before shaking hands with Brighton counterpart Chris Hughton (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The FA announced on Thursday afternoon that the 47-year-old had been charged over the incident.

“Arsenal manager Unai Emery has been charged following the game against Brighton yesterday [26 December 2018],” a statement read.

“It is alleged his action of kicking a water bottle during the fixture amounts to improper conduct. He has until 6pm on 2 January 2019 to respond to the charge.”

Speaking ahead of the FA statement at a press conference to preview Arsenal’s weekend trip to Liverpool, Emery had hoped his apology would have been the end of the matter.

“I say yesterday my apologies, I kicked the bottle in frustration but not for the supporter, I kicked for me and it went near to the supporter and I said to them my apologies. There is not another communication.

“I repeat today my apologies for my individual action but I kick the bottle because it is near me, but not because it is my intention.”

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Emery had hoped his apology would have been enough to escape an FA charge. (Adam Davy/PA)

Emery went on to say he would respect any decision the FA made, although he was keen to draw a line under the incident.

“I hope so, yes,” he replied when asked whether his apology should be the end of the matter.

“But I have to respect the decision because it is a circumstance of my action but not another intention from me with the supporter. I say to them my apology.”

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Jose Mourinho was charged following a similar incident while manager of Manchester United. (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Former Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho received a one-match touchline ban for kicking a bottle of water during the clash against West Ham in 2016.

He was also sent to the stands during his side’s 1-1 draw after lashing out following referee Jonathan Moss’ decision to book Paul Pogba for diving.

PA

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