A-League to get tougher on deliberate bookings

Graham Arnold tells Josh Brillante to get a yellow card.
Graham Arnold tells Josh Brillante to get a yellow card.

THE A-League is likely to ban players earning yellow cards deliberately, in the wake of the controversy surrounding Graham Arnold ordering Sydney FC midfielder Josh Brillante to get himself booked and trigger a suspension.

Arnold was caught on a pitchside microphone telling Brillante to get booked in Saturday night's defeat of Melbourne City.

As it was his eighth of the season, Brillante will be suspended from this weekend's trip to Wellington - but has removed the threat of being suspended for the finals.

Though Sydney was also keen to avoid Brillante being suspended for the last week of the regular season on April 15, missing the presentation of the Premier's Plate, the A-League's integrity unit has expressed alarm that no sanction can be applied to players deliberately earning cards.

Under UEFA rules, a player in the Champions League, Europa League or European Championships game who can clearly be shown to have got booked deliberately, usually to ensure suspension during a meaningless game, can have an additional game's ban applied.

FFA will look at something similar for next season, though A-League boss Greg O'Rourke admitted it was not a new tactic used by Arnold.

"We're disappointed we have coaches out there overtly calling for their players to commit fouls," he said.

"FFA has an integrity unit which will be looking at the rules around this.

"It's no doubt not the first time, in the A-League and right across the world of football, that this has happened. But other leagues have taken the step of including specific rules to sanction such behaviour. I've been talking to the head of our integrity unit and we'll discuss what to include for future seasons."

Topics:  a league graham arnold sydney fc

News Corp Australia

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