The Football Association has charged Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere with a two-match ban after the player was caught giving an abusive hand gesture towards Manchester City fans.
Although the incident flew under the radar on the day of the match, the act was caught on video. The video showed Wilshere raising his finger towards fans during the Gunners’ 6-3 loss to City. The gesture appeared to be a reaction following his disagreement with a referees decision to award Manchester City a goal kick rather than an Arsenal corner.
FA officials decided the act warranted corrective action and have banned Wilshere for two games, a ban which Wilshere intends to contest when he meets with an FA commission today (Thursday).
The official statement from the FA reads: “Jack Wilshere has been charged retrospectively by the FA under a new pilot project for potential ‘not seen’ incidents in Premier League matches… Under the new process, if an incident has not been seen by the match officials, a three-man panel will be asked by the FA to review it and advise what, if any action, they believe the match referee should have taken had it been witnessed at the time… For an FA charge to follow, all three panel members must agree it is a sending-off offence. In this instance the panel was unanimous.”
The ban couldn’t come at a more inopportune time with Arsenal taking on Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium this coming Saturday. He would also miss the Boxing Day match against West Ham.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has stated that his is in full acceptance of the FA’s decision and stating, ”If he did it and he is banned then we will have to accept it.”
Wilshere’s actions have drawn much criticism from fans and former Arsenal players who don’t want such actions associated with their prestigious club. While dissent is never an attractive quality on the pitch, this incident may be being overblown.
Especially if compared to recent comparable situations like when Luis Suarez gave the crowd the middle finger following a 1-0 defeat to Fulham in 2011. In that instance, Suarez only received a one-match ban for an act much more blatantly offensive than that of Wilshere’s.