Football / FA Cup Final: Conscience clear for man on spot

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The Independent Online
DAVID ELLERAY, who awarded Manchester United the two penalties that proved decisive during Saturday's FA Cup final, said he would have been cheating had he failed to penalise the Chelsea players Eddie Newton, for a late lunge at Denis Irwin, and Frank Sinclair, following his challenge on Andrei Kanchelskis.

'It would have been very easy to cheat and not give the decisions,' said Elleray after the 4-0 victory at Wembley that saw United clinch the Double. 'But that would have cast doubt on my integrity. If you are not honest in your decision- making, you are cheating.'

The first penalty raised little protest from the Chelsea players. But they were furious about the second award after the Ukrainian winger went sprawling. 'I can understand Chelsea's disappointment but at no time did the defender try to play the ball,' the referee said.

Elleray booked Chelsea's Erland Johnsen early in the match for a foul and later cautioned the United captain Steve Bruce for a similar offence. 'I had to establish my authority,' Elleray said. 'The role of the referee is to protect skilful players.'