Wenger: Bribed players should get life bans

April 4, 2008

LONDON, April 4 (Reuters) - Players should be banned for life if they were found guilty of taking a bribe to throw a game, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said on Friday.

'It is surprising news and very bad news,' Wenger said of reports that a former Premier League player had accepted a bribe of 50,000 pounds ($100,000) to help throw a game.

'I am convinced that if it is proven they should be banned for life.

'I believe that the most important thing is that our game is clean,' Wenger told a news conference. 'I can't believe it has happened in the Premier League but, if it has, there is no excuse if that is the case for a player to do that.'

The English Football Association (FA) said earlier on Friday that it would investigate allegations in The Independent newspaper that a player, who has not been named, got himself sent off and persuaded three team mates to get booked in a deal with a bookmaker to write off a debt.

Wenger said he did not believe there was a big gambling problem among footballers in the Premier League.

'If one player has done that you have 99.9 per cent of players who have never done it. But you have to convict the one player who has done that,' he said.

'It's not down to human nature -- everyone has to stand up for their own acts and take responsibility for what he is doing.'