Wenger appoints German debt collector at Arsenal
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger revealed his faith in German economic efficiency by saying it was the reason why defender Per Mertesacker had become the club's debt collector.
Asked why the Germany international was responsible for rounding up fines from fellow players who fell foul of the club's internal disciplinary rules, Wenger joked: "The Germans do well economically and we respect that. They are the only ones that make money in Europe. That's why we've chosen a German."
Wenger found himself commenting on the Gunners' disciplinary policy after a document, printed on Arsenal headed paper, detailing a list of rules for players and the cash penalties if they were broken, appeared on the internet.
A fan, reported to be a friend of club doctor Gary O'Driscoll, took a photo of the fines sheet during a tour of the Arsenal training ground. The supporter then posted it on a file-sharing website, believing it would be seen only by himself and his close friends. But the document went viral across the internet.
Given Arsenal players' salaries - last week, England forward Theo Walcott agreed a new 31/2-year Gunners deal worth a reported £100,000 (HK$1.2 million) per week - the fines themselves are modest.
For example, they include £1,000 for players not turning up for matches they are not involved in, £500 for arriving late for travel or training, £250 for not turning up on time to a team meeting or meal and £100 for taking a newspaper, laptop or phone into the medical area or dressing room.
There is even a rule on clothing that should be worn by Arsenal players, who risk £100 penalties for sporting "inappropriate" items.
Wenger said he was saddened rather than angered the fines list had been published. "It's more disappointing than upsetting. It's one of the things ... you cannot keep anything inside any more," he said.
"It's frustrating because I feel you have a right to privacy inside the dressing room. When that is not respected, it's disappointing," added Wenger.