• Champions League

Wenger lashes out over Champions League officials

ESPN staff
April 12, 2013
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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has labelled the standard of refereeing in this season's Champions League as "disastrous" and has welcomed the confirmation that goal line technology will be introduced in the Premier League next season.

Even though the Gunners were knocked out of Europe's elite competition by Bayern Munich last month, Wenger's comments on the displays of Champions League officials may prick the attention of UEFA as he was unequivocal in his condemnation of the key decisions in the big games in recent months.

As Wenger reflected on Borussia Dortmund's contentious victory against Malaga last Tuesday, he did not hold back in his criticism of the match officials for costing the Spanish side a place in the semi-finals.

"When you look at the level of the referee that we have seen in Europe this week, it is absolutely disastrous what happened," stated Wenger.

"The major decisions that have gone wrong in the Champions League, football cannot accept that.

"Honestly, the refereeing has been very poor in the Champions League. I don't know why. You analyse all the teams in the semi-finals, how they have gone through, there have been many, many decisions that have been wrong.

"In Dortmund, when you have four players who are offside and no one sees it, how can that not happen? Then another player is offside and he scores a goal and we have to stand here and defend it. It's not defendable, just because we do not want to progress and move forward. It's absolutely not acceptable.

"I would like at least to see in a major decision like that, to decide who goes to the semi-finals of the Champions League, for the referee to have an opportunity to see whether a goal is valid or not.

"You cannot say you love football and accept that these kind of decisions are made. Go home, say sorry, bad luck. This is just to do with justice. The more assistance the referees get the better."

Wenger has long campaigned for TV replays to be introduced in a bid to resolve contentious decisions in the game, and believes the confirmation that Hawkeye technology will be used in England's top flight next season should signal a change in direction for football chiefs.

UEFA remain firmly opposed to any form of technology being introduced to their competition, but Wenger had dismissed the suggestion that the additional officials being employed behind the goal in Champions League and Europa League games are the answer to the technology debate.

"If [goal line technology] works in the Premier League and I don't think it can fail, it will put pressure on UEFA," he added. "The technology can help the officials, so we have to use it.

"Controversy is not good for football, what is good for football is the right decisions. We all accept if we lose to a better team, we go home, congratulations, bye bye, but it is frustrating to lose when you know it is just down to the decision of the referee.

"When you look at Paris Saint-Germain against Barcelona, a guy scores a goal and he is two yards offside. The referee standing behind the goals doesn't say it is offside. It is difficult for us to understand what their contribution is.

"You can argue [technology] slows the game down, but I don't believe it will do that if it is done in a good way. I am amazed we are resistant by this just on principle. If it is to get more decisions right, we have all to fight for it."

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