Former Manchester United defender Wes Brown was sent off by East despite the fact it had been his colleague John O’Shea who had fouled Radamel Falcao in the penalty area.
East stuck to his mistaken decision even as O’Shea told him he had been responsible for pulling back Falcao.
East even consulted other officials via his earpiece and yet did not change his decision.
Sunderland manager Gus Poyet said east had sought to justify his decision by saying two fouls had been committed, one by each player.
Poyet said: “It was so quick and the two players were together. I didn’t really know. The referee said there were two fouls, the first one committed by John O’Shea, the second by Wes Brown. He said the second one was the one for which Wes Brown was sent off.”
The incredible blunder happened just hours after Fifa rejected the chance to begin a trial of video technology.
East’s error is the latest in a series of blunder by Premier League officials, but Sunderland will be able to appeal on the grounds of mistaken identity and Brown’s card seems certain to be overturned, and O’Shea suspended instead.
The penalty was clearly correct, as Falcao had been fouled, and Wayne Rooney drove home the 66th-minute spot kick to break the deadlock in what had until then been an uninspiring game.
It was Rooney’s first league goal since Boxing Day and he added a second after 84 minutes as United claimed a 2-0 victory despite a largely unconvincing performance. Angel Di Maria, who struggled badly, was substituted at half-time.
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