Latics chief stands by referee comments

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Wigan manager Roberto Martinez feels even more strongly about his comments regarding referee Stuart Attwell now he has been charged by the Football Association.

The FA hit Martinez with an improper conduct charge last Thursday as he accused Attwell of "lying" after the dismissal of defender Gary Caldwell for a challenge of Carlos Tevez during Wigan's 3-0 defeat at Manchester City.

Asked if he now had any regrets about his comments, Martinez replied: "Not at all. No. It's quite easy for me because I don't feel I was disrespectful to the referee at all. I stand by what I said. I was commenting on an action that resulted in a red card for one of my players."

He added: "I'm looking forward to clarifying my comments and that everything is understood in the right manner."

Attwell described Caldwell's challange as being with "excessive force" and the decision proved pivotal as the Argentina striker proceeded to score a 13-minute hat-trick.

Martinez, though, has admitted to his "surprise" at the FA charge, and is now weighing up his response

"I understand how difficult a referee's job is and I support them 100%," he added. "But after the Manchester City game my comments were clear on the action and why the referee gave that decision. Quite clearly I have my point on it and after a few days now I feel the same, probably even stronger.

"I just hope now to explain them and make sure they are seen as a football matter, that I was never disrespectful, in any way shape or form, to the referee and a human being.

"What is quite clear is that we were punished on the day for a bad decision, and for another three games, which is too much, it is too unfair."

Martinez, who has until April 22 to respond to the FA, said: "We're looking into all the avenues and ways to do it in the right manner, making sure I can explain myself well, making sure everyone knows what I meant."

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Gary Caldwell
Premier League
Wigan Athletic

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