Holebas free to play in FA Cup final after winning red card appeal

Watford defender Jose Holebas is available for Saturday’s FA Cup final after his red card against West Ham was rescinded.

The 34-year-old was sent off in the 4-1 defeat in Watford’s last Premier League game of the season after it was deemed he has pulled back Michail Antonio as the Hammers forward ran through on goal.

Hornets head coach Javi Gracia said after the game that the club would definitely appeal and the Football Association announced on Monday afternoon that they had succeeded in having the sending off overturned.

“An Independent Regulatory Commission has today [13/05/2019] upheld a claim of wrongful dismissal regarding José Holebas,” an FA statement read.

“The Watford player was sent off against West Ham United in the Premier League on Sunday [12/05/2019] for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity.”

Watford take on Premier League champions Manchester City at Wembley in the FA Cup final having lost four of their last six league games.

Jose Holebas (left) has earned a reputation as a tough-tackling full-back since joining Watford. (Mark Kerton/PA)

Greece international defender Holebas was sent off in the 48th minute against West Ham and sat distraught on the pitch before removing his shirt as he slowly made his way down the tunnel.

Speaking at his post-match press conference, Gracia called for the decision of referee Chris Kavanagh to be overturned.

Asked if the club would appeal, Gracia replied: “For sure. I kept the same attitude during all of the season and I don’t want to change at the last one.

“I prefer to be respectful to the referees decision and I prefer at this moment to not say what I am thinking about that.

“In my opinion, I can’t believe one player will miss the final for that contact, I can’t believe it.

“Maybe it is a foul, soft foul, light foul but I can be angry with that decision.

“In this moment it is difficult to accept knowing you have an important game next week.”

- Press Association

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