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Arsene Wenger believes it would be better if the Premier League decided its matchday referees through a secret ballot 48 hours before kick-off to prevent managers offering public views that could land them in trouble.

Wenger cannot believe Sir Alex Ferguson has been charged for saying Howard Webb was "the right man for the job" ahead of Manchester United's key clash with Chelsea at Old Trafford last weekend. Having just served a five-match touchline man, Ferguson must now decide whether to contest his latest disciplinary case by 4pm on Monday.

Wenger was bemused, and said: "I don't like comments about the referee before a game. Afterwards I can understand that a manager should have a bit of freedom to express his opinions because the frustration is sometimes so big."

He added: "But you have to give the referee every chance to go into a game with a clear head and without pressure.


 

"I believe that you should not know the name of the referee before the game anyway.

"It should be a draw 48 hours before and nobody should know who is refereeing what game.

"That would keep everybody away from problems before a game."

Manchester United have refused to comment on the charge, whilst Wenger had a bit of fun at his old adversary's expense before turning serious.

"It was a shock to the FA," laughed Wenger. "They are not used for him to be complimentary.

"He is entitled to have that opinion. To me, it doesn't look to be a major problem to say that somebody is good. I would not charge him for that."

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