Newcastle Jets boss Ernie Merrick can't say how he really feels about VAR and the current state of A-League refereeing because of fears of another backlash and fines from the FFA.
Merrick spent a press conference dodging questions about his feelings on VAR after controversial decisions went against the Jets at the weekend, with two penalty claims dismissed by the ref.
After the game against Perth Glory, Merrick raged: "The guy in the VAR was having a cup of tea. He didn't have a chance to look at it. He probably fell asleep.
"If it was against us, it would be given. We've had four penalties against, and we haven't got a penalty this year.”
Merrick was yesterday ordered to explain by the FFA ahead of him being cited for the criticism of match officials, less than a year after he was fined $3000 for calling the refereeing "disgraceful" in a game against Western Sydney Wanderers.
Today he was careful not to land himself in deeper trouble, and even refused to say the words "VAR" and "refereeing".
"I don't want to make any comments on the situation I have found myself in," he said, while praising local newspaper articles which had covered his comments.
But he admitted; "All I'll say is that I've coached 285 or 286 games and been in the A-League for 11 or 12 seasons – I've lost count.
"These last two years, frustrations are pretty high regarding the V-word and the R-word so I'll leave it at that."
When pushed further, Merrick admitted he was determined to avoid any more FFA fines.
"You're tempting me to get fined once again," he joked with reporters. "Can you get cited twice?
"I'm really dying to make a comment but I think I'll keep that in reserve for the moment.
"I'll tell you off the air!"