Arsène Wenger and Samir Nasri have each been charged with improper conduct by Uefa for comments the manager and his midfielder are alleged to have made to Massimo Busacca who refereed Barcelona’s 3-1 defeat of Arsenal that knocked them out of the Champions League on Tuesday night.
The club also faces a secondary charge that it was responsible for both the first and second halves at Camp Nou starting late. The cases will be heard on 17 March and if found guilty Wenger may receive a two-game touchline ban while Nasri may be suspended from two games.
Busacca sent off Robin van Persie in the 56th-minute when the striker had continued playing after the Swiss official had blown to signal offside.
Wenger twice approached Busacca after the match had ended, once to argue with the official as he and the teams left the field, then later following his post-game press conference.
Wenger was furious that Van Persie was sent off and he was also bemused that Busacca had shown the yellow card to Arsenal players on five occasions but not once to a Barcelona man.
Immediately after the tie Wenger said: “It’s not a surprise the referee didn’t book a single Barcelona player. I just spoke to [the] Uefa people. They are shocked as well. He killed a promising, fantastic football match. What for? If it’s a bad tackle it’s a second bookable offence but the way he did it it’s embarrassing, if you love the game. If you have played football at a certain level you cannot understand that decision. It’s impossible.”
Asked how Busacca had reacted when Wenger approached him for the first time to offer his views the Frenchman said: “He was receptive, not necessarily of my view [when he spoke to Busacca afterwards], because he must think that he made the right decision.”
Uefa studied reports from Busacca and the match delegate Dane Jost before asking its disciplinary unit to investigate. Article 10 of the governing body’s disciplinary rules states that players or officials should be suspended for at least two European competition matches in cases of “pestering or insulting any match official”.