Clubs ponder FA charge
Arsenal and Newcastle have until Thursday evening to respond to Football Association charges of failing to control their players during Saturday's goalless draw at St James' Park.
The game represented a bad-tempered start to the season for both clubs with Gunners forward Gervinho sent off in the second half for striking Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton following what the home side claimed was a dive in the penalty area.
A statement from the FA read: "Newcastle United and Arsenal have been charged by The FA with failing to control their players following Saturday's (13 August) fixture at St James' Park. Both clubs have been charged following a mass confrontation of players following an incident in which Arsenal's Gervinho was also shown a red card in the 75th minute."
Arsenal have appealed Gervinho's red card, but their midfielder Alex Song could now also face disciplinary action after his stamp on Barton, which had inflamed the situation, was missed by referee Peter Walton.
The FA statement continued: "Following Gervinho's dismissal Arsenal have lodged a claim that the standard punishment of a three-match suspension is clearly excessive. A Regulatory Commission will hear the claim on 16 August.
"Meanwhile Arsenal's Alex Song has been charged separately by The FA with violent conduct following an incident earlier in the same fixture.
"Both clubs have until 4pm on 18 August to respond to the charge, whilst Song must reply by 6pm on 16 August."
Newcastle confirmed on Monday they would contest the charge although Arsenal have not yet indicated their plans.
As it stands, Gervinho would serve an automatic three-match ban - missing games against Liverpool and Manchester United - and Song could also be hit by the same retrospective punishment. Barton, meanwhile, received a yellow card for his part in the melee, and as such has already been sanctioned.
The controversial midfielder admitted he "went down easily" following Gervinho's slap, and also engaged in some heated exchanges on Twitter, a social media platform which the FA continue to keep a close eye on.
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