Wellington Phoenix adopted a more conciliatory tone when accepting Ben Sigmund’s one-match ban on Tuesday.
Less than 24 hours after coach Ricki Herbert’s stinging attack on the A-League Match Review Panel’s decision to uphold the defender’s red card and not punish Adelaide’s Jeronimo Neumann for diving, the club, in a short statement, said they had ‘respectively accepted the decision’.
General manager David Dome added that ‘the correct process had been followed and so far as the club is concerned the matter has been laid to rest’.
It was a far cry from Herbert’s comments the previous day where he squarely laid the blame on referee Jarred Gillett.
“The referee in the Chelsea-Manchester United game this morning (in the Premier League) dealt with Fernando Torres, who went down in the same manner as Neumann, by showing him a red card,” Herbert said.
“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.
“This referee has been in the same situation in a grand final and did not deal with it competently there either.
“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.”
Herbert could find himself in hot water with Football Federation Australia for those comments while Phoenix captain Andrew Durante is waiting to see if he will face punishment for his post-match comments where he labelled the Argentine ‘a cheat’.
FFA are expected to demand an explanation for the comments in the coming days and could punish Durante for breaking the A-League player code of conduct.
Sigmund will miss Monday’s trip to Melbourne to play against Victory.