Wenger questions UEFA’s ref selection

ARSENE WENGER believes UEFA need to overhaul the way they choose referees after accusing Sweden’s Martin Hansson of being “incompetent”.

The Arsenal manager also backed his under-fire goalkeepers and promised the club would support Lukasz Fabianski following his two howlers which led to Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat against Porto in the Champions League in midweek.

Wenger insisted Fabianski would play against Sunderland at the Emirates today if first-choice goalkeeper Manuel Almunia did not come through a fitness test on his injured finger.

However the Frenchman reiterated his view that Hansson was wrong to allow Porto’s second goal on Wednesday after giving an indirect free-kick in the box following a back pass by Sol Campbell which goalkeeper Fabianski picked up.

Wenger said: “It has to be clarified first of all how they nominate referees for games. They (UEFA) have to be much more open on how they rate their referees. Where is the ranking of the referees? I believe too much has gone on in the last 30 years. What has happened is not good for football.”

When asked if Hansson, who missed Thierry Henry’s notorious handball in France’s World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland, should be refereeing at Champions League level, Wenger said: “It’s not my job to judge is he good enough or not, I just feel in that game he has shown he is not competent.

“He made at least five technical mistakes for a referee. You cannot give a quick free-kick once the referee is in the middle of the action. Once he is there in the middle, where the free-kick is, he cannot anymore give a free-kick, he has to make sure the opponent is at nine metres distance. I believe he is incompetent or dishonest, so I prefer to believe he is not competent.”

William Gallas will be out for another fortnight with a calf injury and Campbell is set to deputise again against Sunderland. Alex Song is due to come in after Abou Diaby was ruled out with a knee injury.

On Fabianski, Wenger said: “He will be a great goalkeeper. He had an unlucky night. We have to show support to him and solidarity.”

Meanwhile Sunderland boss Steve Bruce is confident he still has the club’s full backing despite his side’s recent slide down the Premier League table.

Just one win since November has left the Black Cats sitting 13th in the table and three points away from the relegation places. “I understand (the pressure). I’m six months into the job and you do hope you are given time,” said Bruce.

“We need to win a game but I’m the same manager that got the club off to the best start in 35 years. Now we are on an awful run – it can happen, this is the Premier League.”


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