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Mikel Arteta escapes punishment following recent rant at refereeing standards

Mikel Arteta has escaped punishment following a Football Association charge after the Arsenal manager’s recent post-match rant at refereeing standards.

The Spaniard labelled the decision to allow Anthony Gordon’s goal to stand in a 1-0 Premier League defeat at Newcastle on November 4 as “embarrassing” and a “disgrace”.

Arteta was later charged by the FA for breaking Rule E3.1 – which could have resulted in a ban but has instead been cleared of any wrongdoing.

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

“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.”

There were no set sanctions for if Arteta had been found guilty – but a fine or touchline ban would have likely been the outcome.

Arteta has since said he would continue to speak out against poor officiating and the use of VAR if he felt the standards were not being met.

In the written reasons for the rule not being proven, it was revealed Arteta claimed that: “The word ‘disgrace’…‘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.”

Despite Arteta’s comments at St James’ Park, Professional Game Match Officials Limited chief Howard Webb later said the process to award Gordon’s goal had been correct and VAR had been right in not overruling the on-field call.

Arsenal came out in support of Arteta by issuing a statement the following day – although the club avoided an FA charge for also questioning the capability of match officials.

The outcome of Arteta’s charge means he is free to return to the dugout for Arsenal’s visit of Brighton on Sunday, having served a one-match touchline ban in last weekend’s 1-0 loss at Aston Villa, having accrued three yellow cards this season.

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