Arteta’s complaints about VAR lacked class but I agree with his right to say it

Let me stress, I don’t agree with what Mikel Arteta said after the Newcastle game, but I believe he had the right to say it. The only damage his words had was to our title hopes, the pressure getting to a young manager supporting the perception that Arsenal lack the mentality to be Champions.

Yet words that he was entitled to use.

While I would like our manager to self-reflect and believe his failure to do so will cost us the title, it doesn’t alter his freedom to express his opinion.

The FA clearly disagree.

On Thursday afternoon they confirmed they have charged Mikel Arteta for his comments on the 4th of November, the 41-year-old having till Tuesday to respond.

If found guilty, a punishment could include a touchline ban.

Given his employers released a statement the very next day reiterating the Spaniard’s stance indicates the club will not back down and nor should they.

What the club wrote was pointless, with little suggestions about how VAR and officiating could be improved, but again their language (like our boss) was hardly offensive.

The Football Association though believe that: “It’s alleged that his comments constitute misconduct as they are insulting towards match officials and/or detrimental to the game and/or bring the game into disrepute.”

Clearly Arteta felt the failure to overturn Anthony Gordon’s goal was a ‘Disgrace’ and ’embarrassing’ but that’s not insulting someone.

Yes, his deflection tactics are cringe-worthy and transparent but that’s not a crime. At zero point does he swear, abuse or mock anyone personally.

If disagreeing with a decision is ‘bringing the game into disrepute’ then maybe the media shouldn’t be allowed to ask for your point of view?

As part of the TV contracts, broadcasters have rights to interview managers in a certain time frame after the final whistle. They pay enough money to make that demand, but managers can’t then be judged if they are emotional.

Arteta for example, was more measured when expressing himself days later when he had time to process his thoughts.

Companies surely want managers being honest for good TV.

How dull will the product be if every manager feels forced to say what he’s meant to say and not what he’s really feeling?

Arteta will simply join the majority of his peers by keeping his thoughts to himself, not feeling it’s worth expressing himself, making future post-match interviews pointless.

No, I don’t agree with how Arteta conducted himself on Tyneside. It lacked class.

I don’t agree with what he said yet I agree with his right to say it.


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Tags Arteta Newcastle PGMOL VAR


  1. Lacked class….what the F??? Did Klopp lack class when he said it on Liverpool’s behalf. There is something fundamentally wrong with how VAR is set up and managed. To tell the truth does not lack class one IOTA. It benefits football. I applaud Arteta for telling the ‘TRUTH’ and expressing what most football fans agree with. Change is necessary. Well said Mikel ⚽😍!!!!!

      1. Just imagine if all those incidents have happened to mancity then what would have been the response from Guardiola, the world would have turn upside down, and all referees and VAR would have been pissing their pants. Its no surprise that in every 50-50 situations decision has gone in favor of mancity. Can you find a very obvious error occurred against mancity??? Why decisions cant go against them? Are the official not corrupt? Actually official can turn the game easily in any teams way without making any obvious error as in many situations decisions are subjective and they can give their biased opinion on one team and favor another. For example for 2 footed challenge some will argue that it was not enough threshold for red, some will argue the nature of the foul should be red carded. Similarly pull on shirt, push by two hands, hand ball in penalty area, so there are subjectivity in each decision and refree can easily influence the result by their biased decision. What’s most surprising was that even elbow on Jorghinho head was deemed not to have threshold of having red!!! Do his head needed to be explode before giving red!!!! If so many subjective decision goes against you in so tight matches where one decision will influence the results then surely you should moan about it and cause roar in the town otherwise noone will listen to you and your voice will get vanished in the noise and mishaps continue to happen.

        1. Didn’t they have a dodgy goal against them in last season’s derby ?
          Didn’t they have a pen at the Emirates overturned last season ?
          A game where got a pen ?

          1. Then Odegard foul was not given penalty last season. We have concede hundreds of soft penalty and redcard against them. And I am here not talking about clear obvious error because that happen only one or two times in 100 of matches but many 50-50 chances where decisions are given in subjective manner and decision going in any team favor can be argued. A lot of such decision making happens in each match and if referees favor one team and take those decision for that team they will be in safe side as they avoid obvious error and still impact the game. If you dont believe you can search in internet or youtube how many decisions have gone in their favor and how many has gone against us then i think you will also have common opinions as most of us here.

            1. But your implying City are favoured and that’s there’s an agenda against Arsenal
              If there were it wouldn’t make sense that the decisions went our way at the Emirates last season
              If there was an agenda to help City would they get a Pen over turned ?

              1. The decision to overturn penalty was based on offside decision by Haaland which was quite obvious and not overturning it would have caused obvious error, same as Stones goal was given by slightest of margin. At least VAR has done well in offside decisions where there is not too much of subjectivity. But same cant be said when ederson avoided foul on odegard, xhaka penalized for softest of foul. Being one of editors, it will be advisable to you to bring up the statistics in which Mancity has been favoured in 50-50 chances and Arsenal being other end in such scenarios. Yes, if the statistics shows that both team got equal favoring then I could believe you. As recent as last week Haaland got softest of penalty when there was mutual shirt pull, Ake goal vs Fulham, rodri avoiding red vs Arsenal and so on where decision could have gone either way but most of the time it goes for mancity.

    1. Well said Sean. The way I see it, if you don’t want managers to give their honest, passionate and headline making comments after a match then don’t interview them straight after. Do they expect managers to just give vanilla post match interviews? If so, the interviews should be done the day after to allow the press team to write the script. The kind of interview Arteata gave, which showed passion and was from the heart is the exact type of interview every journalist and football writer should applaud, it’s what sells their papers and gets them clicks. No manager should have fear to express themselves and describe how they interpreted the game, result or standard of officiating. The argument against this being if managers are allowed to question bad decisions, it will stop people wanting to take up carrears as referees- this is nonsense. They get around £5,000 per game and will get abuse from fans regardless of good/bad decisions, it’s because football is a passion for fans from all clubs. The following is not just because I support Arsenal but because I believe every club, fan and player deserve this- if there is corruption in the game because of the eye watering amounts of money involved, then it needs to be rooted and stamped out, fullstop. Yet it won’t be unless someone, somewhere speaks out about it to begin with. I question, why are referees from the Premier League allowed to go to Saudi Arabia and officiate like mercaniries and get paid multiple what they get paid here? Now add the added complication of the same said country owning/backing clubs in our referees own league. Think about it from an employer/employee viewpoint. You are paid to do an honest job at home and make a ruling decision over two different businesses in your home country. Your employer then allows you to go the country of one the businesses from home and get paid more than you pay them yet expect them to come home without favouring one of the businesses at home and continue to make unbiased and honest decisions on that other business back at home. If they weren’t making any money abroad when officiating and it was completely pro bono, I’d be okay with this but our refs get paid much more than they do here and that to me stinks! So fair play to Arteta and anyone else calling out this crap unfolding before our ours, there needs to be a stand and it has to start somewhere.

      Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do. –Steve Jobs

  2. I love how they can police what MA say, whilst at the same time – investigating themselves, unsurprisingly finding no wrong doing (even though around 99% of the footballing world disagrees), and then charges MA for his words.

    MA didn’t swear, or threaten anyone, yet he’s in the wrong? What exactly did they expect a manager to say after such a horrific and decisive decision? Be happy about it? Ignore it? Say how effecting VAR is?

    What is even more hilarious is that in the very next game, we have a goal disallowed because Saka pushed an opponent with 2 hands in the back when they were trying to head the ball. Joelinton who is way bigger and stronger than Saka, and his foul was not deemed a foul on the day, and even afterwards after the investigation.

    So not once, not twice, but three times (3rd being the propaganda piece with Owen) they have confirmed that a large player pushing an opponent in the back with 2 hands, who’s trying to head the ball, is not a foul, yet immediately afterwards it’s suddenly a foul by Saka.

    It was a shocking decision, and could you imagine if a decision like that happened on the final day of the season that sent a club like Luton down, what their manager would be saying.

    1. Well put, i’m sure the writer can’t differentiate between being classy and a mug, He’s surely mistaken class as the latter.

  3. Ah DAN, that old Voltaire quote!

    But it is right and so was he to have made that quote famous.

    Id ask though how would you consider it possible to say the ref was “a disgrace and also embarrassing” which almost all on JA, including me , AGREE WAS BOTH OF THOSE DREADFUL THINGS and stil sound classy?

    Personally, what I ALWAYS FIND CLASSY, is to hear or read someones totally honest opinions with no PREVARICATIONS OR CAVEATES.

    I say BRAVO to MA for telling it as he saw it and as it undoubtedly was!!
    What IS a disgrace and embarrassing however, is the abomination of VAR itself and also the disgracefully pathetic standard of Prem referees
    I stand fullsquare with our manager and salute hIm for speaking truth and not giving in to fainthearted cowards in pulling VERY NECESSARY punches!

    1. It seems premier league referee are in mancity pocket, there should be through investigations regarding these referees whether or not they are involved in any corruption. I may be wrong but when the result of the game is influenced by referees decision rather than quality of the game on multiple occasions then definitely we can’t have any good opinions regarding officials. Arteta used so soft words to convey hos dissatisfaction. PGMOL would support official decision as much as possible to avoid controversy. I think club should start filing lawsuits against the match day officials if multiple decision goes against them then only those official will be afraid of committing mistakes. As of now PGMOL release statement that the decision was wrong and the case is closed. The officials will be prepared to commit similar mistakes in next matches without any fear.

    2. I, nearly, totally agree with you Jon – someone has to start challenging the wrong decisions that are being made.
      I’m behind MA 100% – what should also change is the rule that a manager (or his spokesman) has to appear minutes after a game… unless of course, it’s beside the officials who made the decisions.
      As it is, they get away scot free and are paid handsomely for doing it.
      The idea that var is making the mistakes is like saying that a car caused a crash – befuddled THINKING from fans who haven’t grasped what var is all about.

      1. Ken the only “befuddled thinking” is by those who naively ever imagined VAR would make games more enjoyable, run better, more smoothly and cure controversies.

        The precise OPPOSITE of all those things is CAUSED BY VAR.

        Those like myself who knew from the inception of VAR IT WAS BOUND TO HAPPEN are the ones with CLEAR SIGHTED THINKING and are being proved correct weekly, all around Prem games everywhere.

        1. VAR is there to correct the mistakes that officials have made over the years – the trouble is, those same officials are now making mistakes when they use VAR.
          VAR is a MACHINE Jon – it doesn’t make mistakes, just like the car I mentioned.
          VAR was NOT intended to make the game run “smoothly” that’s what referees are supposed to do.
          It is the ill trained and incompetent referees who were making mistakes LONG before VAR was introduced, but befuddled thinkers seem to think that a machine called VAR has been ruining games…. NO the machine isn’t responsible, as any CLEAR SIGHTED THINKING HUMAN WOULD UNDERSTAND if they had watched football BEFORE the introduction of the machine called VAR.

          1. KEN IF YOU REALLY THINK ABOUT IT , we both agree that that human the necessity of operating VAR HAS made mistakes. You said so yourself and I correctly predicted that from its inception and as you said yourself, it HAS happened And why? Because HUMANS operate it!
            Our ONLY difference, which IF you care to rethink about what we HAVE BOTH WRITTEN AND OFTEN TOO, is that you appear to think I am blaming a sort of “machine”, which I am NOT – as I blame ONLY the inevitable human errors that run VAR.

            VAR is just a name. It might just as well be called say a cauliflower, or a shoe. Since the REALITY is that HUMANS are to blame, just as both you and I SAY REGULARLY.

            THAT very human involvement is PRECISELY WHY I KNEW FROM ITS OUTSET THAT IT WOULD NOT WORK EFFICIENTLY. And that is so, as you yourself agree and admit!
            As so very often KEN you have agin misinterpreted what I have said, time and time again. I havew nevere referred to or even thought of VAR as any sort of machine, as it is not one.
            It is ENTIRELY and ONLY the gross and predictable inefficience of those who use it, in subjective ways, that make it the farce it is.

            It OUGHT never to have been put into operation, UNTIL it could be done entirely with automation and with NO human involment in its operation. As I have said repeatedly!

  4. Mikel was perfectly correct.. If CLASS a measure of how well you lick the FA ‘S back side… then Mikel has zero class.. And keep it up Mikel

  5. Of course Arteta had the right to say what he did. Will he in the future? Less likely because of the consequences as other managers have found to their cost (which will lose us the league apparently 🙄)
    Personally,I wished he’d couched his words differently because of those consequences and because he and other managers have not changed the outcomes when charged.
    Class has nothing to do with it either as far as I’m concerned. It wasn’t expletive ridden; just passionate about poor officiating

    1. de Zerbi should be the next to get the FA’s judgement, unless his phrasing was more acceptable. Hope he gets off though.

  6. Dictators punish any who dare question them, just as we see here with Arteta. Embarrassing that in a free society one has freedom of speech, except when questioning a SPORTS governing body.

    So Arteta could criticize the Prime Minister, criticize his representative, but don’t dare criticize a ref or the PGMOL.

    Their level of arrogance and entitlement is quite shocking. So they investigated themselves and then cleared themselves of any wrong doing. What a joke, absolute farce.

    The PGMOL is untouchable, and these embarrassments will continue until steps are taken to remove some of their power.

  7. Dan I totally disagree with your write up but I understand your need to write for JA.
    Bet you can relate with that also, am not surprise you wrote this because you already predicted that Arsenal will lose that game and this just a way of making sure that when next the prediction game comes around you can wite in bold letters to your so called haters that you are right to say we will lose.
    Now let me ask you like someone wrote above what if that goal is what will cost Arsenal the league or position to qualify for next year UCL, will you still call Arteta out for speaking out against such injustice, sometimes I really wish Fans can be allowed to train or watch this players and coaches in training to see how much effort they put in to win games even players playing for burnley and Luton goes extra miles trying to improve and their coaches have sleepless night when result don’t match their efforts because they know that they have a few years in active careers and would love to make the most of it,
    Arsenal may not have played well that day and will surely lose someday before the season ends but having to lose in such manners with all the technology available is just absolutely ridiculous and insulting and you coming up after hearing the bullock audio recording in the VAR room shows you are only interested in looking good rather making right judgment of issues or are you saying you would have been happy if it was Arsenal who won a game of football by such scandalous goal.
    Before you replay your I want the best for the team or am been realistic mantra just know also I want what you want also and wanting it different from us does not me am better than you or you are better than me cause that’s why we all sit opposite in the stadium and yet supporting same team

    1. Your angry because I correctly predicted we would lose 1-0?
      I also correctly said we beat Man United 3-1
      And that we beat Man City
      In fact out all predictions this season I only predicted we would lose twice !
      I’ll debate with anyone but please don’t make things up lol

  8. We didn’t lose the game just because of that particular decision to allow their goal, Havertz missing a sitter and Raya flapping at the cross didn’t help. Regarding the article, I’m on Dan’s side in this as yes of course we have free speech, but there can also be consequences regarding what we actually say. The consequences of what Arteta actually said will likely lead to a touch line ban and because of the words used by Arsenal Football Club in Arteta’s support, (not for supporting him, but adding their own comments about refs and VAR) I’m expecting the Club to also be charged and censured.

  9. As for me a Arsenal fan for life. I wholeheartedly support Mikel Arteta in his comments against the Newcastle vs Arsenal Epl match referee. Who allowed Newcastle’s Anthony Gordon goal to stand. And the VAR referee personnel who adjudicated on the match referee’s decision awarding the goal. But subsequently confirmed the illegal goal scored as a lawfully scored. Instead of to have chalked it off.
    This illegal goal scored by the Magipies has consequently left Arsenal a point behind the Epl current leaders Man City. But who Arsenal would have been joint leaders with them if the legal Newcastle goal was not allowed to stand.
    As if to add salts to injury, Howard Webb the Pgmol referees chief officer flagrantly came out to defend the indefensible. When he defended the actions of his Pgmol match officiating referees in the match. But I think Howard Webb’s comments on this controversy, and his failure to subjects his errands referees in the last Newcastle vs Arsenal Epl match to disciplinary action. Has shown all his talks to reform Epl match referring to a higher standard is just a camouflage by him. For, he now looked to be a bird of the same feathers with the rest of his Pgmol match referees,

  10. I would have gone the same route as Arteta maybe worse. Arsenal are repeatedly the recipient of these bad judgements, and will never win the league as things go. Arsenal and Arteta must take the league to court, can’t be bullies and be left as they please.

  11. Last season we received an apology for VAR ruling a goal by Brentford onside. The VAR man ‘forgot’ to draw the lines…..which was his actual job description. The VAR man was Lee Mason. We all know the rumours and whispers were that he was not exactly kosher. Another two points and the season may have well been different. ‘Mistakes/Incompetence/Corruption can easily affect the outcome of an intensely hard season in a MULTI BILLION ££££ industry. Which one of the three do think caused the VAR ‘forgetting to draw the lines’ in last seasons Brentford game.

    1. And Lee Mason has been re-employed by the PGMOL, just as another ref was “demoted” for one game and then given the plum fixture to referee in the PL the next week.
      With that little weasel Owen now lapping up to Howard Webb, the corruption goes deeper every week.
      Everton have just been deducted 10 points with immediate effect…. meanwhile city, with over 100 charges against them, carry on regardless.
      And SOME thought there was no corruption!!

      1. Ken, City will get what’s coming to them, as will Chelsea, but the likes of us will probably be at the Great North Bank In The Sky by the time it happens though.

        1. Wow!!! You base your anti conspiracy on one incident Dan?
          Now try and give some more city injustices – what about receiving a letter of apology from the PGMOL… Oops they haven’t had one, so name me the clubs that have, starting with… The Arsenal.

  12. Martinelli’s disallowed goal against Man Utd, Ivan Toney’s offside goal against Arsenal, Trossard’s disallowed goal against Leicester City because of a push on a Leicester City player by Ben White, Saliba’s handball or rather ball to hand in the Chelsea’s match that resulted in a penalty and a goal against Arsenal, Kovacic dangerous tackles against Odegaard and Declan Rice which deserved a red card but a yellow was given instead, are some of the reasons why some fans think there’s an agenda against Arsenal. Cap it up with the controversial Newcastle goal where the naked eye showed the ball crossed the goal line before Willock brought it back into play brought Arteta and Arsenal to breaking point thereby leading to his outburst and Arsenal backing MA. Perhaps MA would have used better words in communicating his dissatisfaction with the officiating but his reaction showed his frustration. PGMOL don’t want to be challenged openly or made to look incompetent so they will likely use this incident to make a scapegoat of MA.

  13. The FA have claimed that criticism of PGMOL officials is making it hard to recruit referees. OK here’s two solutions …..
    1. Pay them a decent wage. Allegedly a ref gets approx £5k per premier league game, so if they do all 38 games in a season…£190k….less than a weeks wages for an elite prem playerI. If you want to attract & retain elite officials they need to be paid more.That way they wouldn’t need to go moonlighting in the Saudi Pro League (who pays them £20K per game).
    2. If you want to help VAR to make better decisions get a better camera system installed, rather than the current micky mouse affair that meant that 2 of the 3 possible reasons for the Newcastle goal to be questioned could be properly judged.

  14. As a neutral interested in the refereeing issues that VAR is helping to shine light on what I saw in what Arteta said was something more than just that.

    The way Arsenal FC followed it up in a very short time with their own statement in support said to me that they likely discussed this behind closed doors and said something like “Next time we get a bad decision we’ll do this”.

    And this means Arteta says his piece to the cameras, Arsenal FC follow it up right after saying the same.

    Looks like the club’s had enough and feels they get more than their fair share of crap decisions.

    From a neutral viewpoint I think they’re right. But I think a few other clubs are getting this treatment as well. Refs seem to favour some “big clubs”.

    1. Yes because in some situations they are using opinion instead of the rules while opinion is one’s own believe or bias

      1. I hope Jon Fox reads your CORRECT viewpoint Man, as he’s a little befuddled regarding what VAR is supposed to do versus the referees.

  15. What the?! Really? What happened to truthfulness, integrity and impartiality? The real issue is perceived refereeing corruption and the media telling the world there is no foul when it is clear as day because they’re trying to protect the image of the PL. Come on, people, call a spade a spade!!!!

  16. Arteta, Arsenal and all the fans are expected to keep quiet and watch as the corruption among ref keep propelling Man City to titles. Years ago it was Juventus in Serie A and it wouldn’t be surprising that the same is revealed in the future about Man City.

    So that’s basically the police shooting the wrong person then when you complain about it you get arrested and put into jail. Keep quiet and just take it, gotta have class right, is that the British way? no wonder you guys have fallen from once the most powerful country in the world to this.

    1. I very much doubt that the UK’s position as a world power has anything to do with PGMOL or police shootings, accidental or otherwise.
      No, blame it on Basil Fawlty.

      1. There are to my knowledge no current legal investigations into referee corruption, but if the authorities ever decide not to disregard mad rants on football blogs, this might be the place start looking for evidence.
        Maybe one day…

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