Newcastle Jets coach Ernie Merrick has been slapped with a $3000 fine after accusing the A-League video referees of bias.
Merrick, whose team was coming off a morale-boosting 3-1 win over Melbourne City on Friday was brought back to earth for some earlier comments
The Jets coach lashed out following a 2-0 away loss to Perth Glory in Round 16 when a number of penalty shouts by his team were waved away.
“The guy in the VAR was having a cup of tea,” Merrick said post-match.
“He didn’t have a chance to look at it, probably fell asleep. When does the VAR change anything nowadays? With the handball it just depends which referee you’ve got, the referees are all different. Some give some don’t.
“If it’s against us it’d be given, we’ve had four penalties against us and we haven’t got a penalty this year.
"The Roy O’Donovan one, he was wrestled to the ground, it was pretty blatant, but I don’t know who looked at it but as I say I don’t think the guy in the VAR really changes any decisions nowadays. They’ve gone from one extreme to the other. I’ve got nothing to say about referees, the best team won the game and we couldn’t score goals.”
The Jets were awarded their first penalty of the season in the following round when they thrashed Western Sydney Wanderers 5-1.
Football Federation Australia fined Merrick for breaching the National Code of Conduct and said the coach had until February 25 to appeal the decision.
But a reversal seems unlikely given the FFA’s statement: “In determining the appropriate sanction, FFA took into account a range of factors, including that this was not Merrick’s first breach of the Code.”