Football 3 years ago

Phoenix coach sticks up for Arnold

  • Phoenix coach sticks up for Arnold

Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick has accused Football Federation Australia of double standards after Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold was cited last week.

Arnold was called to account following Sydney's last-gasp 2-1 loss to Adelaide United, where Sydney conceded a 94th-minute penalty.

He faces a hefty fine and possibly even a touchline ban after using the word "criminal" in his post-match press conference.

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"To me, there's a double standard there," Merrick said on Saturday after his team snatched a late 1-1 draw against Sydney at Westpac Stadium.

"If you listen to a couple of benches, and the language that comes out of some coaches, it's terrible language, (with) swearing.

"It's heard through the microphones but nothing's done.

"Then Graham Arnold says one word and it's taken out of context, and I think very unfairly.

"I don't think that's right compared with the language that comes out of some coaches' mouths."

Sydney FC has submitted a formal response defending Arnold, saying his remarks were taken out of context.

Arnold said: "I'm very proud of my boys, they worked extremely hard, 11 against 10, I thought we did exceptionally well and it was criminal how it ended."

He said the comment referred to the way his team withstood Adelaide with only 10 men for more than 60 minutes after Alex Gersbach's red card, only to concede at the death, and there was no intention of criticising match referee Strebre Delovski.

"It never ever entered my mind of criticising Delovski, who I think is probably the best referee in the league."

Arnold has a history of butting heads with the FFA, and was fined $1000 three weeks ago for not attending the post-match press conference following Sydney's scoreless draw against Wellington.

He was also fined $5000 in January after Sydney's scoreless draw with Newcastle, saying "pathetic" referees were deciding the outcomes of games.

He later apologised for the remarks and avoided suspension.

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