Arteta says severe criticism of match officials supported by evidence and is a bid to improve soccer

Tue, Nov 7, 2023
Soccer News (AP)

Arteta says severe criticism of match officials supported by evidence and is a bid to improve soccer

LONDON (AP) - Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta doubled down on his severe criticism of match officials, saying Tuesday it is supported by "evidence" and that it is his "duty" to defend his club amid accusations he is legitimizing widespread abuse of referees.

Arteta was furious about the standard of Premier League officiating in Arsenal's 1-0 loss to Newcastle on Saturday - in particular how the contentious winning goal from Anthony Gordon was allowed to stand after a video review checking three potential infringements.

Arteta said after the match he felt "ashamed" and "embarrassed", and that the decisions reached were a "disgrace". He was supported by a club statement published Sunday which urged English soccer's refereeing body to "address the standard of officiating" in the league.

"It is my duty to be defending my players, supporting my players, supporting my club, defending my people in the best possible way and I do it time after time," Arteta said Tuesday. "And I do it not the way I feel but with the evidence and being as clear as possible."

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A report in British newspaper The Daily Mail said Arsenal was ready to cite a number of decisions that have gone against them, since last season, in the club's next meeting with referees in a bid to prove a pattern.

Arteta appeared to refer to that by saying his anger didn't build up "overnight."

"We have a duty to express how we feel with the evidence that we have and the history of what happened," he said. "We have to really stand for our people, our values and what we are."

Some, like former Manchester United and England defender Gary Neville, believe Arteta and Arsenal are setting a dangerous precedent by going so public with their criticism of officials.

Arteta simply says he is being honest and attempting to improve the game.

"We all want the same," he said, "but we have to understand we have to be there - be clear and honest. Be respectful but clear and honest, value what we have and make sure we continue evolving the game the way we want."

Arteta was speaking ahead of the team's Champions League match against Sevilla at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.

Arsenal leads the group on six points after three games and Arteta said his players could be galvanized by what happened against Newcastle.


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