Jewell vows to fight FA charge 'tooth and nail'

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The Independent Online

The Football Association brought acharge of improper conduct against Paul Jewell last night and prompted a reaction from Wigan in keeping with the performance that landed their manager in trouble in the first place - indignant, accusatory and with potentially serious repercussions for referee Phil Dowd.

Jewell has been charged by the FA for his aggressive response to Dowd's display during Wigan's 2-1 defeat at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday when the furious 43-year-old approached the Staffordshire official on the pitch.

The FA is also looking into Jewell's scathing post-match attack on the official, leaving the Wigan manager in peril of a touchline ban or a record fine for criticism of a referee. The case, however, will not be one-sided. During his withering condemnation of Dowd's performance, the Wigan manager accused the referee of verbally abusing his players and insisted that, if charged, his club would respond in kind.

That threat was carried out last night when Wigan confirmed they are to send a letter of complaint about the official's conduct to the Premier League, the FA and to referees' chief Keith Hackett with the allegation that, according to a club statement: "A number of players were verbally abused in an aggressive and menacing manner by Mr Dowd during the match on Sunday."

Wigan hope to force an official investigation into Dowd's performance, at the very least, and will have statements from several of their players to support their claim. Jewell has requested a personal hearing with the FA over his charge and plans to defend himself by presenting the disciplinary committee with a video of Wigan's defeat.

"We, as a club, will be fighting this tooth and nail," said Jewell. "I have been overwhelmed with the support I have had from inside the game, big figures who I respect a great deal."

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