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Jan 22, 2010

Paul Robinson wants Alan Wiley apology for "joke decision"

Bolton Wanderers defender Paul Robinson has called on referee Alan Wiley to make a public apology for his failure to penalise William Gallas for a nasty challenge on Mark Davies.

• Gallas to avoid punishment

It emerged on Thursday that Gallas will not face action from the Football Association for the tackle as Wiley viewed the incident at the time and allowed play to continue, with Arsenal immediately going on to score an equaliser at Emirates Stadium.

Gallas went in late on Davies in an incident that Bolton manager Owen Coyle described as "assault" and Bolton were furious that the Frenchman escaped punishment for a challenge which left his opponent with ankle ligament damage.

Now Robinson has expressed the anger felt in the Bolton dressing room by directly criticising Wiley for his inability to spot the foul.

"It was a joke decision," Robinson told the Bolton News. "And it happened right in front of him. We are very upset with the referee - who has got to hold his hands up and publicly say he was wrong. We'll be taking our frustrations out on anyone that comes in front of us now."

In his Friday press conference, Coyle admitted likening Gallas' tackle on Davies to an "assault'' was "a bit strong'' and accepts the Arsenal defender showed no malice in the challenge.

"Maybe (to say) an assault was a bit strong,'' Coyle said. "But he certainly caught the lad. I don't think that any professional, and I would certainly hope not, goes to purposely hurt another player, but it was mis-timed - there is no doubt that it was badly mis-timed. Mark Davies paid the price for that and we did as a team because with a player lying on the ground, they have scored an equaliser.''

Asked for his reaction to Gallas escaping censure from the FA, Coyle said: "That's up to the FA, but it won't result in us getting any points from the game. They are the powers that be and they decide what happens and what doesn't happen.''

It is not yet known how long Davies is likely to be out of action, although the 21-year-old will definitely miss Bolton's FA Cup fourth-round tie against Sheffield United at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday.

"Thankfully it's not broken but there is ligament damage there and it will certainly rule him out of this weekend,'' Coyle said. "We'll be giving him extensive round-the-clock treatment and he was terrific the other night with his performance levels so he's a player we would like back in our squad as quickly as possible. We'll see what the weekend brings, but he's a young lad and a quick healer I'm led to believe.''

Arsene Wenger cannot believe the furore which has surrounded the incident - and is "absolutely amazed'' nobody cares when Arsenal get kicked off the park. Wenger, who issued an apology on the night for the foul, but stressed there was no intent, feels such focus is unnecessary.

"There was a bit of an over reaction with the way it was treated, yes,'' said Wenger. "If it is a bad, malicious tackle I can understand that it is shown every half an hour, but the way that happened, it can happen every game.

"I said after the game if Gallas has injured the player, we are sorry, we will have a look at the tackle and if it is malicious we will come out and make a statement. We looked at it carefully and we saw that it was just a mistimed tackle.

"That is why we didn't see why such a story could flare up and make a national story if the intention of the player was completely right. I cannot say that all the tackles that we have got in the last two games were completely accidental.

"The problem in England is that the sensitivity of one media dictates what the whole country has to think and I raise big question marks over the competence and the objectivity of the guys who make these kind of decisions.''

Wenger believes his players are often targeted by a physical approach as the only way to knock them off their passing game.

"Some people say before the games, 'we know how to play Arsenal. we have to kick them' - and nobody in the whole country is absolutely upset by that,'' Wenger declared. "I am always absolutely amazed that people get away with that. When we get kicked and lose the game, the question I get from the press is 'oh, you did not fancy that.' Nobody is upset or shocked by it. They find when we are kicked, it is absolutely all right.''

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