Interview

Wenger - Why we decided to play the game again

Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger says the club offered to replay our FA Cup fifth-round match with Sheffield United because it is essential to “respect the spirit of football”.

The controversy arose after the Blades kicked the ball out for one of their players to receive treatment. Kanu then mistakenly collected a Ray Parlour throw-in that was intended for goalkeeper Alan Kelly, and crossed for Marc Overmars to score.
 
“The important word that comes to mind is respect for the spirit of football,” Wenger said. “Without that there is no game anymore. We broke no rule of football when we scored that second goal through Marc Overmars but, quite simply, it was not fair.
 
“Sheffield United had put the ball out and it was not returned to them. It was an accident but they still suffered. The only way to redress that situation was to offer to play the game again. That was accepted by Sheffield United and approved by the Football Association.
 
“Even if sometimes the rules are not written down to cover a certain a situation, there is respect and there is the spirit in which football should be played.
 
“There is no crime in wanting to win, but it has to be in the right way. You cannot create a rule to cover every eventuality, but you can react the right way if there has been a wrong. That is why we as a club - the chairman, vice chairman - the entire board of directors, me and the players - wanted the cup tie to be re-staged. It was the only sensible answer to a difficult situation.”

01:25

Feb 13, 1999: FA Cup drama and outrage

See Full List

Fixtures & Results

Premier League
Ticket Info