Edge whistled back into line for criticising refs
An outspoken coach has been told to keep his mouth shut, writes Ian Anderson.
Outspoken Waikato FC coach Declan Edge has run foul of New Zealand Football.
Edge was unhappy with his side's treatment from referees in the opening two matches of the ASB Premiership this month and fired a broadside to the Waikato Times following his side's 1-0 loss to defending champions Waitakere United after the match was decided by a controversial penalty.
"Me at my best has a conspiracy theory that they don't want Waikato winning games and making it into the O-League," Edge said
"That's the second game on the trot we've had a referee who has been in charge of his first premiership game.
"I think we deserve better respect and top referees."
It is understood Edge may be in breach of contract for his comment criticising match officials under league regulations but New Zealand Football operations manager Glyn Taylor wouldn't comment specifically on possible sanctions.
When the Waikato Times rang Edge yesterday, he said he was unable to talk to the media.
"There have been discussions between NZ Football and Waikato FC with regards to comments Declan Edge made and were quoted in your column, which we feel were inappropriate," Taylor said.
"A process is in place for people to make comment back to NZ Football on referees - we'd prefer these not to be debated in the media."
Waikato suffered their third loss on the trot in Hamilton last Sunday when defender David Parkinson was sent off after receiving a second yellow card from referee Matt Conger for what seemed like an innocuous foul on Team Wellington striker Henry Fa'arodo on halftime.
The match was tied at 1-1 at the time but Wellington took advantage of the extra man in the second half to win 4-1.
Taylor said the regulations were clear "that you can't make a comment that is bringing the game into disrepute".
"In our view, suggesting there is some conspiracy to stop them from winning the competition and competing in the O-League is bringing the game into disrepute.
"We're not wanting to quash debate or discussion but there are appropriate avenues for it."
Taylor said the matter now rested with Waikato FC, whose chairman Brendon Coker was unable to be contacted late yesterday.