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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 May 2006, 14:08 GMT 15:08 UK
Watford players could miss final
Watford manager Adrian Boothroyd and Fitz Hall of Crystal Palace
Boothroyd squares up to Hall
Watford could be without key players for the Championship play-off final - even if manager Adrian Boothroyd escapes a touchline ban.

The FA's fast-track disciplinary scheme means player suspensions can be handed out within 48 hours of an incident.

At risk is Hornets striker Darius Henderson, who was involved in an incident with Palace's Tom Soares.

If Boothroyd is charged by the FA, he would still have 14 days to respond - making a final ban unlikely.

Boothroyd was involved in an angry confrontation with Palace duo Fitz Hall and Tom Soares that sparked the skirmish as the Hornets drew 0-0 to go through 3-0 on aggregate.

"The referee told me to go to the stands and I followed his instructions," said Boothroyd. "Regarding possible FA disciplinary action, I will simply deal with whatever comes along," Boothroyd said.

"The fast-track system applies only to players, not to clubs or managers," an FA spokesman confirmed.

"We are looking at some additional footage of last night's incident."

Hall seemed to throw a half-hearted punch at Boothroyd, causing a huge brawl close to the dug-outs in the second half involving virtually every player, both managers and members of their coaching teams.

Palace chief Iain Dowie also appeared to raise an arm in the melee, which stewards had to quell.

It was handbags really - a little melee but nothing malicious
Iain Dowie

Both clubs face being charged with failing to control their players after the incident, which involved almost all the on-field players and a number of the substitutes.

Referee Steve Tanner sent Boothroyd to the stands and booked Hall, but the incident raised tension levels considerably.

Boothroyd added: "It was a big game with a lot at stake and I was trying to get the ball back. It was irresponsible.

"With hindsight, I wish I had moved away, and I was a bit bemused by it all.

"I don't think I was sent off, I think I was sent to the stands for my own safety.

"I tried to get the ball back in play for a throw-in, and then the situation occurred. I'm not a violent guy, and if I were to pick a fight with anyone, it would not be with someone as big as Fitz Hall.

"I was just a bit over-enthusiastic and I hope he can see that when he (the referee) writes his match report and I hope to be in the dugout for the final."

"We cannot comment further until we have heard more from the FA," said a Watford spokesman.

The Championship final, against Leeds, is on Sunday 21 May - 12 days after the controversial semi-final.

Going out is not down to my players it's down to me - I'm the manager and I take responsibility for what's happened
Iain Dowie

But he was proud of Watford's progression to the play-off final against former club Leeds, after a professional performance following their overwhelming 3-0 win on the road in the first leg.

"It was a superb effort from my players as Palace came at us and they tried to disrupt us," he said.

"At 3-0 you just want closure and get through and I'm glad we've done that."

Dowie said that Watford deserved their victory and were worthy winners of the tie.

"You've got to give credit to Watford because over the two legs they have deserved to go through," said the Eagles boss.

"We huffed and puffed but they were resolute and dogged and deserve to go through.

"Going out is not down to my players, it's down to me. I'm the manager and I take responsibility for what's happened."

Dowie also played down the mass brawl that was instigated by his counterpart.

"It was handbags really," he said. "A little melee but nothing malicious.

"Both sets of players should have been more controlled but they weren't acting with any malice.

"I don't want the second-half brawl to overshadow Watford's achievement, and I would be disappointed if Adrian Boothroyd had to watch the final against Leeds from the stands."

Interview: Watford boss Adrian Boothroyd

Interview: Crystal Palace boss Iain Dowie

Watford 0-0 C Palace (agg 3-0)
09 May 06 |  Championship


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