Arsenal to avoid UEFA punishment despite breach of Champions League rules

  • UEFA will not fine Arsenal for failing to carry out usual pre-match media duties
  • Gunners' flight to France for Champions League clash with Lens was delayed due to bad weather
  • Mikel Arteta and William Saliba conducted phone interviews instead

Arsenal were hit by travel issues
Arsenal were hit by travel issues / MB Media/GettyImages

Arsenal will not be punished by UEFA for failing to carry out their usual pre-match media duties ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash with RC Lens.

The Gunners were due to arrive in France in the early evening on Monday and a press conference with manager Mikel Arteta and centre-back William Saliba was scheduled for 7pm local time.

However, Arsenal's flight from Luton Airport ended up being delayed by nearly five hours and the travelling squad did not touch down in France until the late hours of Monday.

Arteta and Saliba ended up conducting interviews over the phone with a select group of reporters.

Ordinarily, UEFA would fine clubs for failing to turn up to their pre-match press conference, but given Arsenal's delay was not their fault, they will avoid punishment.

Speaking on Monday evening, Saliba insisted he and his teammates would still be able to perform at the required level to beat Lens.

"Yeah of course. We have to arrive first but tomorrow is another day and we will give our best against Lens," Saliba said. "It is really good feeling. My second game in the Champions League with Arsenal. I can't wait to play in France, so it is a good feeling."

Mikel Arteta, William Saliba, Ben White
Saliba and Arteta have phone interviews in lieu of a press conference / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Arsenal can take another step towards reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League with victory at Lens having thrashed PSV Eindhoven on matchday one.

Goals from Bukayo Saka, Leandro Trossard, Gabriel Jesus and Martin Odegaard saw the Gunners past the Dutch giants.

They now face a Lens side who sit 15th in the Ligue 1 table having only taken seven points from their first seven games. Franck Haise's men did earn a 1-1 draw at Sevilla in their opening Champions League group match, however.