Football: PSG's Aurier barred from entering Britain over assault conviction, Wenger says get the job done

Paris Saint-Germain defender Serge Aurier will not be allowed into Britain to face Arsenal in their Champions League clash on Wednesday (Nov 23).
Paris Saint-Germain defender Serge Aurier will not be allowed into Britain to face Arsenal in their Champions League clash on Wednesday (Nov 23). PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP, REUTERS) - Paris Saint-Germain defender Serge Aurier will not be allowed into Britain to face Arsenal in their Champions League clash on Wednesday after the British authorities revoked his visa, the French club said.

"Paris Saint-Germain is stunned by this incomprehensible situation that attacks the very integrity of the Uefa Champions League," the club said on Tuesday, adding that it was because of the Ivory Coast international's September conviction for assaulting a police officer outside a Paris nightclub.

The French champions made clear their anger with the British authorities, especially because they said they were only informed of the decision on Tuesday, calling that "a flagrant lack of respect for the club".

"After an initial application on Oct 18, complete with all the necessary documents, the British authorities had originally granted Paris Saint-Germain's Ivory Coast international an entry visa to the UK on Oct 21," PSG said.

"However, on Nov 16, his visa was finally revoked by the British Ministry of the Interior, who justified their about-face by citing Aurier's conviction."

PSG, who face Arsenal with top spot up for grabs in Group A, said that they lobbied against the decision to no avail and were further angered by the fact that the final decision came so late.

"The club also deplores that the final decision of the British authorities was only communicated at 1400 CET (1300 GMT) on Tuesday, despite the club working for the last six days to find a solution to enable our player to travel with his team-mates to London."

The 23-year-old Aurier has not spent any time in prison, despite being sentenced to two months for the assault, and has filed an appeal against the decision.

Earlier, Arsene Wenger urged his Arsenal team to "finish the job" against PSG by ensuring they top the group.

The Frenchman said on Tuesday that it felt like a luxury to have qualification for the knockout stages in the bag but he is determined that his side, currently on an unbeaten 17-match streak, now cash in on home advantage by winning the group.

Who will lead their assault on PSG's defence, though, remains uncertain as Wenger has not decided whether to give his in-form "Super sub" Olivier Giroud a start at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal and PSG have both qualified, amassing 10 points apiece, so the match feels like a straight shoot-out for the winner's spot and a potentially easier round-of-16 tie.

"We have done the job in a convincing way. It is a luxury to be qualified after four games," Wenger told a news conference.

"We have done it away from home. Now, we have to finish the job at home. We played a draw there and now it is down to us to win the game."

Arsenal were lucky to scrape a 1-1 draw at Manchester United in the Premier League on Saturday but Giroud's late headed equaliser, his third league goal of the season, represented a bright spot.

He has not started a league match this season, seeing only 109 minutes of action, as Wenger has utlilised him as a weapon to be brought off the bench.

Yet his goals-per-minute strike rate is the best in the division with Wenger conceding on Saturday that while desperate for more playing time, Giroud was remaining angry in a positive way.

"He is not forever on the bench. He will play games," Wenger said. "I have not decided (if he will start against PSG)."

The likelihood is the Frenchman will see more action in the near future, with Wenger confirming he would try to give key striker Alexis Sanchez a winter break to help him avoid burn-out.

Sanchez suffered an injury on international duty but Wenger said he had "recovered completely" and refuted reports that the Chilean had been forced to play against Manchester United.

"I never forced in my whole life a player to play. Suggestions we forced him to play are wrong," Wenger said. "If I have the possibility I would like to give a winter break to everyone. I just had a chance to do it with (Mesut) Ozil."