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Last Updated: Friday, 17 October, 2003, 17:02 GMT 18:02 UK
Arsenal pledge over charges

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says the club will still fervently back their players despite admitting to nine misconduct charges brought by the Football Association.

The charges followed the brawl at Old Trafford at the end of the goalless draw on 21 September, after Manchester United's Ruud van Nistelrooy missed a penalty in the final seconds.

Wenger said: "We have pleaded guilty but we still want to defend our players. What we said after the game was that we over-reacted and we were wrong.

"At the moment, I must say that we pleaded guilty on some behaviour but not on some others."

Arsenal face a heavy fine after admitting the overall charge of failing to control their players and could also be hit by suspensions.

Dates for the hearings will be scheduled in due course
FA statement

Martin Keown, Ray Parlour, Patrick Vieira - who was sent off for a foul on Van Nistelrooy during the game - Ashley Cole and Lauren face punishment after admitting a mixture of charges.

Wenger added: "In the two serious cases, Lauren and Keown, we will try to get the best we can for them. They can be suspended, we have to accept that. The rest are really minor cases."

Manchester United's Ryan Giggs and Cristiano Ronaldo are contesting their charges after they confronted Arsenal duo Lauren and Keown after the final whistle.

The only reprieve for the Gunners came when a charge of improper conduct against goalkeeper Jens Lehmann was withdrawn - although he was warned about his future conduct.

An FA statement revealed that "dates for the hearings will be scheduled in due course", although it is understood that the governing body are keen to avoid any further delay.

  • Arsenal defender Cole has admitted a charge of improper conduct after a clash with Ronaldo, while captain Vieira was punished for his failure to leave the pitch after he was shown the red card by referee Steve Bennett.

  • Parlour has admitted two similar charges after he confronted Van Nistelrooy and Gary Neville as the teams left the field.

  • Keown's two charges of improper conduct and violent behaviour for his well-publicised confrontation with Van Nistelrooy will now be dealt with as one charge of violent behaviour.

    The veteran former England defender has admitted the offence.

  • Lauren has admitted a charge of violent behaviour for pushing Van Nistelrooy in the back.

    He has also accepted two other charges of improper conduct for confronting the striker after Vieira's sending off, and for kicking out at Quinton Fortune following the penalty award.

    The Cameroon defender has had another charge of improper conduct, brought after a clash with Giggs, withdrawn.

    BBC Five Live's Gordon Farquhar
    "Fundamentally the Arsenal side of things is now very clear"

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