Arsene Wenger: English football does not have a hooligan problem

West Ham crowd trouble

West Ham should be forced to play behind closed doors if the violence that marred Wednesday’s derby with Chelsea is repeated, says MP Mark Field

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger does not believe English football has a “hooligan problem” and has called for a return to safe standing at stadiums.

Crowd trouble marred West Ham’s EFL Cup fourth-round home win over Chelsea on Wednesday.

Wenger, 67, was “surprised” at the disorder, as “in England we’re not used to facing these problems any more”.

“You cannot say 200 people is a general problem in the country,” said Wenger, who has managed Arsenal since 1996.

“Hopefully West Ham will get rid of the problem very quickly. I am in favour of the resurgence of standing behind the goals and that is not a good advert to come back to standing.”

Championship club Brighton are exploring the possibility of installing safe standing at the Amex Stadium, “if legislation allows”.

English Football League clubs backed calls for the introduction of safe standing areas in 2014.

Scottish Premiership club Celtic installed 2,900 rail seats before the start of this season and Brighton chief executive Paul Barber has visited both Celtic Park and German Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund as Albion consider their options.

“I feel the closer you are to a position of a player the more passionate it is,” said Wenger.

“It would enable you to have lower prices as you would have more spectators and maybe a more passionate atmosphere.”

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