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Mar 30, 2012

Wenger given three-match ban

UEFA has hit Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger with a three-match touchline ban and a €40,000 fine for improper conduct.

• Wenger charged with improper conduct

Wenger was critical of referee Damir Skomina after his side's 3-0 victory over AC Milan in the Champions League at Emirates Stadium and reportedly clashed with the official in the tunnel after the match.

After the game, which saw Arsenal exit the competition with a 4-3 aggregate defeat, Wenger said: "I was not happy with the referee because he gave them many free-kicks in the centre of the park. Every single free-kick every time they went down it was for them. They sensed that very quickly on the pitch, the players, and they used it very well."

Wenger has now been found guilty of improper conduct and has been banned from the touchline for three UEFA club matches, although an appeal may be lodged within three days.

Speaking at his press conference prior to the announcement, Wenger said: "If I am [suspended] then it is not justified and I will appeal straight away. I believe that they have transformed UEFA competition referees to be untouchable icons, where you cannot even have a word.

"The only thing they understand after the game is the report. I believe that when you have 25 years consecutively in Europe you can still ask the referee that you can have some discussion with him. It is very difficult to understand."

The Gunners boss was given a one-match ban for a similar offence following the Champions League defeat to Barcelona at the Camp Nou last season. While serving that ban during the Champions League play-off with Udinese at the start of this season, Wenger was seen communicating with the Arsenal bench from the stands and was hit with a further two-match ban.

He added on Friday: "Last year I have been suspended a second time - the first time was not justified, the second time was a joke because they told me what to do and afterwards they told me, 'No, sorry, that was wrong'.

"So at the moment I have difficulties with UEFA and I can take what is wrong on my side, but in these different situations I think they go a little bit overboard if they suspend me."

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