Bans for brawling Wellington Phoenix players
The trio of Wellington Phoenix players involved in Saturday's pre-season brawl have been hit with a collective nine-game ban, but they will not miss any A-League action.
Manny Muscat was today handed a four-game ban by Football Federation Australia's match review panel for his actions in the melee against the Newcastle Jets, while Ben Sigmund copped three games and captain Andrew Durante two.
But the FFA has determined that the trio can serve the suspensions during the club's sanctioned four-game pre-season tour of India, which kicks off on Friday.
That means the players will be free to play in the club's season opener against Sydney FC at Westpac Stadium on October 6.
The panel of chairman Simon Micallef, Alan Davidson and Alan Contini also handed Newcastle defender Tiago a four-game ban.
Muscat and Sigmund both have the option of appealing the length of their bans, but not Durante as he was handed the minimum sentence for his offence.
Muscat, Sigmund and Durante were all found guilty of ''assault on a player'' during the fiery match in Weston, New South Wales.
"This kind of unprofessional and unsportsmanlike behaviour has no place in our game," said new head of A-League, Damien de Bohun, who stamped his mark in just his second day on the job.
"Having been involved in football for a long time it is very disappointing to witness the on-field incident that occurred on Saturday as it detracts from our sport - a sport built on speed, skill and flair.
"I look forward to meeting with each Hyundai A-League Club before the season commences and reinforce not only our expectations on the professionalism of the sport but ways in which we can work together to grow the game."