Wellington Phoenix want answers from FFA

Last updated 05:00 20/03/2014
MATT KING / Fairfax NZ
Phoenix captain Andrew Durante argues with referee Ben Williams and is given a yellow card during match with Melbourne Heart.

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The Wellington Phoenix have written a ''please explain'' letter to Football Federation Australia following Sunday's controversial 2-2 A-League draw with Melbourne Heart.

FFA director of referees Ben Wilson has admitted that World Cup-bound whistleblower Ben Williams made two key blunders at AAMI Park: failing to award the Phoenix a penalty for a Patrick Kisnorbo hand ball and then incorrectly sending off Ben Sigmund.

Wilson also said Williams' decision to award Harry Kewell a penalty for the second equalising goal was debatable.

But Phoenix general manager David Dome said the club were also awaiting a response on four other incidents from the match.

A submission sent to the FFA on Monday enquired as to why Kewell had not been punished for abusing an assistant referee, why Jonatan Germano escaped a yellow card for pulling back Michael Boxall, why Stefan Mauk was allowed to barge into the back of Jeremy Brockie and also questioned Sigmund's first yellow card.

''We want to see some definitive action from the FFA which shows this is a demonstrable example of how we are improving the standard of refereeing in the A-League - as has been discussed a number of times at FFA meetings,'' Dome said.

''Diving is a blight on the game and within the Phoenix, we are very strong in  the opinion that is not how we play. Any player who thinks that's part of the game gets told as much.''

With four games left, the Heart draw left the eighth-placed Phoenix facing an uphill battle to qualify for the top-six finals.

They will almost certainly be without Carlos Hernandez for Saturday's game against the Jets in Newcastle after an MRI scan showed he had a calf tear.

''Unless he makes a remarkable recovery I think it's highly unlikely that he will be on that plane to Newcastle,'' Dome said.

''Our advice is that's probably going to be a two-week recuperation period and Carlos is currently actively involved in that recuperation window.''

On Friday, Hernandez told ifThe Dominion Postnf he was frustrated at being left out for the Heart game and felt that he was fit to play.

Dome would not say whether Hernandez had been disciplined for his comments or whether he was confident the 31-year-old would see out his contract to the end of the 2014-15 season.

''Any action we take against a player is in-house, we can't talk about that. That's between the club and the player. All we're saying is Carlos has an injury, he's actively working on recuperating that injury. He's happy to do that and it's business as usual.''

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Meanwhile, Dome said he remained ''hopeful'' that the Phoenix could attract an English Premier League club, or clubs, to New Zealand in the off-season.

West Ham United are one of several EPL clubs in the mix.

''It's a very long, elongated process and to be honest about 70 per cent of my job at the moment is trying to get this thing sorted out. You don't know - the whole thing could come off or the whole thing could fall over. West Ham could be one of the ones that comes off, it might not be. The A-League regular season finishes in a month and we want something sorted out by then.''

- Fairfax Media


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