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Wenger Urges FA to Get Tough and Ban Divers

Published: 31st December 2014 10:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st December 2014 10:23 AM   |  A+A-

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Arsene Wenger has called on the Foot-ball Association to ban divers in a bid to rid the game of simulation.
Diving was put firmly back on the agenda by Jose Mourinho, the Chel-sea manager, who claimed that there was a campaign against his club after Cesc Fabregas was booked for going down against Southampton.
Fabregas became the third Chelsea player to be booked this month for diving, joining Diego Costa and Willian, while opposition managers have accused Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic of taking a tumble.
Wenger believes that the only way to solve the debate and confusion around diving would be for the FA to take retrospective action against players found guilty of it. The -Arsenal manager thinks that there should be a panel of former players, managers and officials set up to decide whether or not a player dived and whether he should be banned.
"I'm against diving," Wenger said. "We should punish it after the game. The problem will be to decide when it was obvious diving or not. That's a big issue and sometimes it's not obvious." Asked whether a panel should be set up, he said: "Yes and the most suited to this are people who have an experience in the game. Punish only obvious cases, but not mixed ones.
"You have to suspend the players, I don't know how long. It depends. I am not a specialist in this kind of thing. But the only way that the players will stop doing it, is if they feel they can get punished. Whether it is Arsenal, or Manchester United, or Liverpool or Chelsea, it is for everybody the same."
Wenger has seen Arsenal caught in the centre of diving rows surrounding Robert Pires and Eduardo during his time at the north London club.
The Frenchman does not believe that it is worth telling players that they must not dive, as those who want to go down will and others, such as Alexis Sanchez, will always stay on their feet. "You have to choose between being clever and being honest," Wenger said.
"That's a bad solution. What you want is for a player to play with honesty and to go for it. Once the players start to dive or not to dive, it makes it difficult for the referee."
He added: "It's difficult for me to judge what's happening anywhere else, but you can never really meet a manager who says he is in favour of diving anyway."
Asked whether Arsenal players had dived, Wenger said: "Oh we had them, with Pires, with Eduardo. It is down to the players. Even if you talk to the players, the guys who have that in them, they will do it in the game.
"Sanchez is the kind of player who will always go on [stay up] because he thinks he can win the ball back again. It is a bit more down to the character of the players."
Wenger is without the suspended Olivier Giroud and revealed that the striker Danny Welbeck is an injury doubt for the Southampton match.
"We have one alert after the game at West Ham and that's Danny Welbeck," the Arsenal manager said. "He could be short for Thursday. He has a thigh problem."
Wenger is hoping to sign a central defender and possibly a defensive midfielder in the January transfer window. Arsenal scouts have watched Saint-Etienne's Loic Perrin, who can play in both positions.
"There is a need there, but the right opportunity has to come up," Wenger said. "To buy to buy is not what we want to do, but if the right opportunity comes up we will do it.
"If you look at the number of games some players played and the injuries we have with Wilshere, Ramsey and Arteta, we are a bit short at the moment in midfield. Ramsey is not available yet, there is no setback, but it is a bit slower than I expected it to be. Because he had a setback last year, we have to be very cautious with his thigh - he was out for three months, so we have to be a bit more cautious than we would like to be."
Wenger accepts it is difficult over the hectic Christmas schedule to keep all of the players fresh but not lose the dynamic of the team. "Rotation is a sensitive subject because you can destabilise your team with too much rotation, so you have to find the right numbers of rotating the team," he said.
"Overall, you want to keep the balance of your team and as well refresh sometimes in the positions where players are a bit tired."
Wenger is hoping that Arsenal's dreadful luck with injuries will change come the new year.
"I feel it is nearly impossible that we will have the same bad luck on the injury front that we had in 2014," he said. "What is explainable in 2014 is that it was after the World Cup and we had many players injured because they played in the World Cup."
Arsenal could move back into the top four above Southampton with victory tomorrow, and could close up on Manchester United, whom they now trail by only three points.
Wenger said: "You give your best and if there is a weakness in front of you, you want to take advantage of it. I don't know if there will be any weakness in front of us, but what I know is that we can give our best until the end of the season to have a chance to do it."



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