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Soccer Extras: Emery tells Xhaka to apologise after clash with fans

October 30, 2019 10:21 IST

Granit Xhaka

IMAGE: Arsenal's Granit Xhaka gestures to fans as he is substituted. Photograph: David Klein/Reuters

Arsenal coach Unai Emery said Granit Xhaka should apologise after his confrontation with supporters and refused to confirm whether the Swiss midfielder will retain the club captaincy.

Xhaka’s substitution during Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday was met with sarcastic cheers from the home fans at the Emirates Stadium.

 

The Arsenal skipper was incensed by the supporters’ reaction, cupping his hand to his ear before taking off his shirt and storming down the tunnel amid boos.

“Yes (he should apologise). We make mistakes, we need to apologise and we suggested for him to do that,” Emery told reporters on Tuesday.

“He is now devastated – devastated and sad. We spoke yesterday, and also on Sunday night. It is not easy for him and for the team."

“We need our family, friends and supporters to support us, love us. He is not feeling that with the supporters. But we are speaking with him ‘first, be calm. Be close to your family and be close to us because we are your family’.”

Emery confirmed Xhaka is not in Arsenal’s squad for Wednesday’s League Cup match at Liverpool but the Spanish manager said he was always going to make changes for the cup competition.

When asked if a decision had been made about Xhaka’s future as Arsenal captain, Emery said: “At the moment I am not speaking and I don’t want to think about that.”

German playmaker Mesut Ozil, however, will be part of the travelling group despite being left out of every matchday squad since starting the League Cup third-round win over Nottingham Forest on Sept. 24.

“He’s in the group so he has a chance to play,” Emery said. “We have had this morning a very good conversation, Mesut and me, and I said to him I haven’t changed my idea about him."

“He knows what I want from him because it’s the same as last season on the first day of pre-season training when we had a conversation.”

Bulgaria to play one game behind closed doors over England racism

Bulgaria will play their next competitive home match behind closed doors and pay a 75,000 euro ($83,000) fine, European soccer’s ruling body UEFA ruled, after finding some of their supporters guilty of racist abuse of England players.

England’s 6-0 win over Bulgaria in the Euro 2020 qualifier played in Sofia on Oct. 14 was halted twice after fans taunted visiting black players with Nazi salutes and monkey chants.

Since the incident, Bulgaria Football Union (BFU) president Borislav Mihaylov and team head coach Krasimir Balakov have resigned, and authorities have identified 16 suspects and made 12 arrests.

The sanction will affect Bulgaria’s qualifier against the Czech Republic on Nov. 17.

UEFA also imposed a further one-match stadium ban, suspended for two years and ordered the BFU to display a banner with words “No to Racism” with a UEFA logo on it.

Bulgaria was also fined a further 10,000 euros for causing disturbance during the national anthem, with England to pay 5,000 euros for the same offence.

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