Cup Final rivals lodge red-card appeals

April 27, 2006

West Ham and Liverpool have formally lodged appeals with the Football Association against the red cards which threaten to keep Hayden Mullins and Luis Garcia out of the FA Cup final.

The opposing midfielders were sent off after clashing nine minutes from time in Liverpool's 2-1 win at Upton Park on Wednesday night.

The automatic three-match ban would rule them out of next month's final, and the clubs have claimed wrongful dismissal in both cases.

Garcia was punished for elbowing Mullins in the back, and retaliation - pushing the Spaniard to the floor - cost the Hammers player a record card for violent conduct.

Their cases will be heard by an FA disciplinary commission tomorrow.

West Ham boss Alan Pardew said last night: 'By the letter of the law, perhaps they should have been sent off - but we are all in agreement the FA should show some clemency on this.

'We are both playing each other in the final so it is not affecting anybody else. A tiny little incident has cost them both a very special day.

'It was a little moment but as it stands at the moment they will both miss out, which will be a big, big shame and take away from what I think will be a terrific final.

'There is not much we can do. We will appeal and express our feelings and I hope there is some common sense there and that they will show some sympathy.

'I hope it can be downgraded. If they want to do three matches, maybe two this year and one next year.'

Benitez suggested the FA follow the Spanish system and judge the situation on its merits.

'In Spain we have the possibility of banning for two games, three games, four games. Suspending the players for two games [and leaving them available for the final] would be enough because it was not a serious incident,' said Benitez.

'We will try to appeal. We know how important the final is.'