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Wenger fined for calling van Nistelrooy a cheat

LONDON, DEC. 17. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was fined 15,000 pounds ($29,000) by the Football Association for calling Manchester United striker, Ruud van Nistelrooy, a cheat.

The FA also severely reprimanded Wenger and warned him not to repeat the offence.

A disciplinary panel found the Frenchman guilty of improper conduct after his team's 2-0 loss to United in a Premier League game on October 24. "We all know him, he can only cheat people," Wenger had said of van Nistelrooy in a post-match television interview.

Wenger contested the charge but did not appear at Thursday's FA disciplinary hearing and the club issued a statement afterwards saying he did not plan to appeal against the verdict or the punishment.

"Now is the time to move on," Wenger said in the statement. "We have an important match coming up and all my thoughts are focused on our preparations for the visit to Portsmouth on Sunday."

The Old Trafford game marked Arsenal's first defeat in 50 league games and led to acrimonious scenes as the players and team officials left the field. Man U manager Alex Ferguson was pelted with soup and pizza during the scuffles.

Van Nistelrooy, who has had repeated flare-ups with Arsenal players on the field, served a three-game ban for kicking Arsenal defender Ashley Cole in the knee during the game. The incident was not spotted by the referee but the FA charged him with serious foul play. — AP

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