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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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By ESPN Staff

Caborn calls for players to behave

Sports minister Richard Caborn has called on coaches and clubs to ensure their players behave on the pitch.

Arsenal and Chelsea were today both charged by the Football Association with failing to control their players after a mass brawl in Sunday's Carling Cup final at the Millennium Stadium.

And Caborn reminded both clubs and players of their responsibilities in ensuring the image of the game was not tarnished by the recurrence of such incidents.

'We have seen a number of incidents which don't leave the sport in a good light,' he told BBC News 24.

'I've said many times [that] what happens on the park on a Saturday happens in the playground on Monday.

'All of us have to take responsibility for the way in which we conduct ourselves.

'It is up to coaches and directors of clubs to say to players `You have a responsibility. Let's make sure you live up to that responsibility'.'

Meanwhile, the League Managers Association vice-chairman Frank Clark has backed Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho's role in the melee.

The Chelsea and Arsenal bosses became involved in the incident which tarnished Sunday's Millennium Stadium showpiece and saw three players sent off.

Both clubs have now been charged with misconduct by the Football Association over the stoppage-time fracas, but Mourinho and Wenger have escaped individual action for leaving their technical areas.

The pair appeared to be trying to calm their respective players down, rather than add to the ill feeling, and Clark believes this should always be taken into account by the powers that be.

'Technically, they are not supposed to come on the field,' he told PA Sport.

'But I think, in this particular instance, they both came on and were quite helpful towards the referee and his assistant in regaining control of what was a very difficult situation and which could have got worse.'

Former Nottingham Forest and Manchester City boss Clark accepts both managers were in breach of the rules but added: 'All hard and fast rules are better applied by a degree of common sense.

'I wouldn't for a moment want to give all our managers carte blanche to come on the pitch for any reason.

'But, in certain circumstances - if it's for the benefit of the game and the befit of good order - I think the powers that be have got to consider that.'

Clark insists the LMA would stand by any manager charged in circumstances such as these.

'Technically, they are in breach of the regulation,' he said.

'But we would offer our support and certainly plead mitigating circumstances and ask for a degree of common sense.'

He added: 'But I would imagine clubs of that size would probably have their own legal teams and legal advisors.

'All managers, when they up on any kind of disciplinary charge, we're prepared to support them.

'Not if they are in the wrong - John [Barnwell, LMA chief executive] has always been keen to stress this.'

As a former top-flight manager himself, Clark can empathise with the tension that sparked Sunday's unsavoury scenes but even he was disappointed by what he saw.

'You don't like to see that kind of thing on a football pitch,' he said.

'It's disappointing something like that took over the focus from what was a very, very good game.

'I can understand it but that's not to condone what went on on the pitch.

'Players are under pressure as well but they have to learn to deal with that.

'Fortunately, it doesn't happen too often in football.'