Date: 27th April 2006 at 4:49pm
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West Ham manager Alan Pardew and Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez have pleaded with the Football Association to show ‘sympathy’ and ‘common sense’ and allow red-carded pair Hayden Mullins and Luis Garcia to play in the FA Cup final.

The two midfielders clashed nine minutes from full-time in Liverpool’s 2-1 win at Upton Park and were both shown straight red cards by referee Howard Webb.

Garcia elbowed Mullins in the back, who retaliated by pushing the Spaniard to the floor. As it stands both men will be suspended when West Ham clash with Liverpool in the FA Cup final at the Millennium Stadium.

Pardew: ‘All four of us have been in the referee’s room. 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 and hopefully 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.

‘Ironically, we play each other in the final so it is not affecting anybody else. A tiny little incident has cost them both a very special day.

‘The referee said he thought about [the yellow card] but under the guidelines he’s given he would be punished if he didn’t give two reds.

‘Both the players are honest guys. There was no animosity between us. We all went in there and had a civil conversation.

‘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 in the media and I hope there is some common sense there.’