Central Coast Mariners’ Club Captain, Matt Simon, has been ordered to serve a two game suspension effective immediately by the Football Federation of Australia (FFA) after he breached the sport’s National Code of Conduct during the Mariners clash with Brisbane Roar at Central Coast Stadium on February 22.
The Mariners announced the FFA had cited Simon for inappropriate behaviour relating to conduct engaged in immediately after receiving an indirect red card during the Round 20 Hyundai A-League match on February 25.
Simon was cited for a heated verbal altercation he had with match official and FFA Referee, Stephen Lucas, where he allegedly called Lucas a “F***ing dog” amongst other things.
In a media statement released on March 1 the Mariners confirmed Simon had issued a formal written apology to Lucas for his conduct and said the club was working closely with Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) to provide a submission to FFA regarding appropriate sanctions to be applied to Simon for breaching the Code of Conduct.
In the same statement Simon said he was deeply remorseful for his actions during the match.
“Having received a Code of Conduct notice from Football Federation Australia, it is now appropriate for me to confirm my intention to plead guilty to breaching the National Code of Conduct,” Simon said.
“I have used the recent days as an opportunity to reflect on my conduct on February 22.
“My outburst fell below the standards that I set for myself and that, as Captain, I set for my teammates.
“For this, I apologise to the referee, Stephen Lucas, and have done so in writing.
“Stephen deserves respect for his profession.
“Like players, referees aspire to reach the top of their craft and deserve support.
“I undermined this commitment last Friday night.
“I take my role as Captain of my home town club seriously.
“It is a great honour to represent the fans of Central Coast Mariners and the people of the Central Coast.
“I have always taken great pride in pushing myself, my teammates and even my opponents, as hard as I can to achieve success on the field.
“I know I often run very close to the line, I like to think that I don’t cross it too often, having only received one red card across 12 years, and almost 250 A-League matches.
“On Friday night however, I let the Mariners community down by crossing that line.
“As someone with a long-term commitment to the Central Coast and to Australian football, I can only ask for the opportunity to make amends for my actions and work even harder to make this club the success it deserves to be,” Simon said.
The Mariners confirmed the two game suspension handed down by the FFA on March 4.
“After consideration of the submissions made by Simon and Central Coast Mariners, for breaching clauses 2.1 and 6.1(a) of the Code FFA determined to sanction Simon with a one (1) match suspension and an additional one (1) match sanction, which is suspended until the conclusion of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 Season,” FFA Head of Leagues, Greg O’Rouke said.
“In determining the sanction, FFA considered sanctions applied in comparable incidents in the Hyundai A-League.
“In addition, FFA has informed Simon that any further breach of the Code could result in more severe sanctions being applied.
“Abuse of match officials is not acceptable and will now be subject to match sanctions, rather than fines, to deter players disrespecting match officials in the future.
“FFA acknowledges Matt Simon’s public statement of contrition and also his letter of apology to the referee.
“We agree with Matt that this sort of behaviour falls below the standards he set for himself and that, as Captain, he set for his teammates,” O’Rourke said.
Accordingly, Simon will be ineligible for Central Coast Mariners next two Hyundai A-League matches against Wellington Phoenix on March 9 and Newcastle Jets on March 16.
Mar 1 and 4
Tyson Scott, Central Coast Mariners