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Arsenal boss Arteta escapes ban after referee rant

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta will face no punishment from England’s Football Association following his complaints about refereeing standards after a defeat by Newcastle last month.

The Gunners’ boss was furious at the decision to let Anthony Gordon’s goal stand in a 1-0 Premier League loss at St James’ Park on November 4, labelling the verdict as “embarrassing” and a “disgrace”.

Arteta was charged by the FA, which could have led to a touchline ban, but the case against the Spaniard was “not proven” according to an announcement on Thursday.

“An independent Regulatory Commission has found the charge against Mikel Arteta for an alleged breach of FA Rule E3.1 to be not proven,” said an FA statement.

“The manager was charged following various comments in media interviews after Arsenal’s Premier League game against Newcastle United on Saturday 4 November.

“It was alleged that his comments constituted misconduct in that they were insulting towards match officials and/or detrimental to the game and/or brought the game into disrepute.”

Arteta subsequently said he would continue to speak out publicly against the use of VAR and the quality of officiating if he felt it fell below the required standard.

In its written reasons, the commission said language issues lay behind its decision to spare Arteta punishment after the Gunners boss had said: “The word ‘disgrace’…(which) 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.”

For all Arteta’s unhappiness at the award of Gordon’s goal, English referees’ chief Howard Webb said the correct decision had been reached, with VAR right in not overturning the on-field call.

Arsenal issued a statement in support of Arteta the following day, although the Gunners avoided an FA charge for also questioning the capability of match officials.

Arteta is now free to return to the dugout for Arsenal’s visit of Brighton on Sunday, having served a one-match touchline ban during last weekend’s 1-0 loss at Aston Villa awarded for receiving three yellow cards this season.

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