Fulham's ref plea

Friday 21 December 2001

Fulham today urged referees to stop victimising their players after Luis Boa Morte was cleared of biting Everton defender David Weir.

The striker was sent off for the alleged incident at Craven Cottage earlier this month but had his red card overturned by the Football Association yesterday after Fulham produced video evidence to clear him.

Now the Portuguese international is available for tomorrow's Premiership trip to Middlesbrough and the club are hoping it will mark the end of a string decisions which have affected their players and Boa Morte in particular.

"The video made it clear that Boa Morte was not guilty," said assistant manager Christian Damiano.

"For me he was the victim in the Ipswich game, when he was also sent off, and against Everton. Then, against Tottenham last week, he was booked for diving. But the defender never played the ball. He played the player.

"We ask for just one thing: protection for our players. It's not easy for the referee to see everything in the game and, of course, he can make a mistake."

Fulham's team tomorrow will be changed only slightly, if at all, from the team that lost 4-0 to Spurs.

"We have not got a big squad. Sometimes you need to change but for us it is difficult. We change one or two players sometimes but that is it," said Damiano.