The referee who sent off Ben Sigmund in last Saturday's controversial A-League game in Adelaide has been given the weekend off.
But a league spokesman said Jarred Gillett was rotated out, rather than benched for poor performance, as there was a desire to give all the referees games during the early part of the season.
Gillett, who controlled last season's grand final, came under fire after issuing Phoenix defender Sigmund a red card for his foul on Adelaide's Jeronimo Neumann, who absorbed the initial contact before hurling himself to the Hindmarsh Stadium turf.
After the 3-1 loss, Phoenix captain Andrew Durante slammed Neumann as a "cheat" and the refereeing standard as "shocking".
Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert later labelled Gillett incompetent and the Queenslander's name was missing when the round five officials were unveiled yesterday.
Sigmund's red card has since been upheld and he will miss Monday's visit to Melbourne Victory, which will be controlled by rookie referee Shaun Evans, in his first season as an A-League whistleblower.
Sigmund and Gillett have both received sympathy from Victory import Gui Finkler.
"He [Sigmund] didn't touch him," Finkler said.
"It's not fair for the referee because sometimes he is not in a good position on the pitch. I think we must try to go easy on the referee. I think the linesman needs to help the referee because he is in a good position every time."
A-League referees boss Ben Wilson has also waded into the debate, saying he was as keen as anyone to see simulation removed from football.
While the Phoenix might beg to differ, he argued diving was not a major issue in the A-League.
"I don't know that simulation is a scourge on the game in Australia. On a worldwide scale it's probably a major concern for Fifa," Wilson said.
"But in Australia we handle it reasonably well and the Australian supporters and players don't approve of players simulating, it's not that common in the A-League. I think we have got a fairly robust process to deter players in Australia from simulating and it appears on the whole to be working."
Neumann, who scored two goals against the Phoenix, escaped punishment and is free to play against Brisbane Roar on Sunday.
"Was the player trying to deceive the referee by pretending to have been fouled?" Wilson said.
"I think most people would acknowledge there was a foul there, the fact that he may have exaggerated that contact doesn't necessarily lead to a yellow card for simulation because there was actually a foul there in the first place."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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