Merrick was cited by the FFA after Newcastle Jets' 2-0 loss to Perth for angrily criticising the VAR following a review which failed to give a penalty for his side.

“The guy in the VAR was having a cup of tea," the coach 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."

Merrick accepted FFA's ruling after it abandoned the original $3,000 fine, admitting that despite his appeal, due to the Code of Conduct's structure, he was "never in a position to be exonerated."

The Jets coach praised head of the appeals committee John Marshall, after the chair included in their report that:

"Ernie Merrick is the sort of coach and official that the A-League and football ought be proud to have.” 

But despite accepting the ban – which will only come into effect if he breaches the rules again this season – the sardonic Scot insisted that he was right to appeal to highlight inconsistencies in FFA's ruling on criticism of referees.

“John Marshall provided a very thorough report on the matter and I appreciate the work of the Committee and FFA in facilitating a fair hearing,” Merrick said.

“The intent of this exercise was to bring to light some of the inconsistencies we’ve seen in this area.

“Moving forward I hope this situation will spur the FFA to open a continued dialogue with coaches, allowing us to share our views and make a contribution to the development of the game.
“In regards to my suspended sentence, I’ve assured Mr Marshall I will be on my best behaviour moving forward…. honest."