Adelaide United forward Jeronimo Neumann escaped a possible ban for simulation after Football Federation Australia’s independent Match Review Panel (MRP) upheld the red card given to Wellington Phoenix defender Ben Sigmund.
Wellington’s attempt to get Sigmund’s red card rescinded after he tangled with Jeronimo in the 77th minute of the clash at Hindmarsh Stadium on Saturday evening. Wellington players and officials were incensed at the actions of Jeronimo and believed it was his actions when he went to ground that led to Sigmund’s dismissal.
However the MRP deemed there was no Obvious Error within the A-League Disciplinary Regulations (Regulations), Obvious Error being “a decision by the Referee to…..issue a Red Card when no card was warranted….being a decision that no referee in the possession of all the facts, including all Broadcast Footage, could reasonably have made.”
The MRP confirmed that Sigmund will serve the Mandatory Match Suspension of one (1) match and therefore will be unavailable for this weekend’s match against Melbourne Victory. As the MRP did not uphold the Obvious Error Application, there was no basis under the Regulations to conduct a post- match review for possible simulation (against Jeronimo).
Neumann will be available to line up against Brisbane Roar on Sunday.
Wellington coach Ricki Herbert later launched a two-pronged attack on the competency of A-League refereeing and players ruining the game by diving.
"Unfortunately the referee in our game with Adelaide did not deal with the situation competently and we are paying the penalty rather than the player who was guilty of simulation," Herbert said of the match review committee's decision.
He then opened old wounds by recalling referee Jarred Gillett's controversial decision to award a penalty to Brisbane in the 94th minute of the 2012 A-League grand final against Perth.
Roar converted the spot kick to snatch the title when Glory's Liam Miller was adjudged to have brought down Besart Berisha in the box.
"This referee has been in the same situation in a Grand Final and did not deal with it competently there either," Herbert said.
"It is very disappointing for both Ben and the club that he will miss the game against Melbourne Victory, and also wrong that the game is being ruined by players who dive and do not get punished for it."
Under the competition's rules on simulation introduced two seasons ago, any player found guilty of diving faces a standard two-match ban.
Phoenix captain Andrew Durante still faces the prospect of breaching the A-League player code of conduct but he wasn't mentioned in the FFA statement on Monday night.
An angry Durante didn't hold back in comments made to a television interviewer on the field immediately after the match saying: "He has dived, he's a cheat."
He then qualified his comment by saying: "In my book, if he's dived he's a cheat."
Meanwhile, Perth's Steve Pantelidis was also handed a mandatory one-match suspension after a more clear-cut incident in his side's 2-1 loss to Sydney FC.
The Glory defender was shown a red card for a blatant foul on Brett Emerton when he dragged the midfielder to the ground in the box in the 57th minute.
Pantelidis will miss this weekend's match against Newcastle Jets.p
Central Coast Mariners saviour Mike Charlesworth says the A-League champion needs to stop playing the underdog card and embrace the mantle of being “the best” in the land.