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Page last updated at 13:30 GMT, Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Birmingham's Lee Bowyer receives three-match ban

Lee Bowyer tackles Alex Song during Saturday's match
Bowyer has been booked four times this season

Birmingham's Lee Bowyer has been banned for three matches after accepting a charge of violent conduct for a challenge on Arsenal's Bacary Sagna.

Referee Peter Walton told the Football Association he would have dismissed the 34-year-old had he seen the incident in the Gunners' 3-0 win on Saturday.

Bowyer was substituted after appearing to stamp on the French defender.

He will miss Tuesday's match with Blackpool and cup trips to Millwall and West Ham on 8 and 11 January.

"We have got a good discipline record at this club and stress to the players every week how important discipline is," said Birmingham manager Alex McLeish.

Craig Gardner's dismissal against Wigan in September is the Blues' only red card of the season, although they are in a lowly 18th place in the most recent edition of the Premier League's Fair Play Table.

Bowyer, who has also played for Charlton, Leeds, West Ham and Newcastle during his career, has received more bookings than any other player since the Premier League began in 1992, with 98 bookings to his name.

In September, McLeish admitted that he substituted Bowyer in the 3-1 defeat by West Brom because he feared he may later be sent off after being cautioned by referee Chris Foy.

McLeish refused to be drawn on the midfielder's latest indiscretion immediately after Saturday's match, but, speaking before the charge was announced, he stressed the need for retrospective punishment to be applied equally throughout the Premier League.

"We're not defending anybody if they have made a bad decision on the field. But we're looking for fairness. If it's going to be the smaller clubs that are scrutinised, then you've got to look at the bigger clubs as well," he stated.

McLeish cited an incident in his side's 1-1 draw with Tottenham on 4 December in which Spurs defender Alan Hutton appeared to headbutt the Blues' David Murphy, but was not charged.

Olumide Fagbeja

"We didn't hear anybody screaming about Alan Hutton that day," he added.

"Alan came into the dressing room and apologised to David Murphy for it after the game. I was quite happy just to let it be swept under the carpet.

"I don't like to see trial by television, but if we are getting tried by television, then everyone has got to get tried by television."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger echoed McLeish's comments, saying: "The FA has to pick out any incident and punish every single club.

"I believe usually the media single out more the bigger clubs because they are more in the spotlight - but the FA has just to be objective and try to punish everybody no matter where he comes from."

And on the FA upholding Bowyer's red card, Wenger added: "They judged him guilty and we have all to accept it.

"I think even Bowyer will accept that. He made a mistake, he has been punished and he will accept it."

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see also
Birmingham 0-3 Arsenal
01 Jan 11 |  Premier League
Bowyer earning McLeish's plaudits
09 Mar 09 |  Birmingham
Birmingham seal deal for Bowyer
08 Jul 09 |  Birmingham

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