Ref rant earns Arnold record fine

Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold has been slapped with a record $5,000 fine after his ref rant was found to be in breach the FFA National Code of Conduct.

Only a 'sincere apology' and other undertakings has saved Arnold from further sanctions including suspension.

Arnold was issued a 'please explain' for heated post-match comments following the game between the Sky Blues and Newcastle Jets on January 3.

The title-winning coach was livid after striker Marc Janko had what appeared to be a legitimate goal was ruled offside.

“They do it every week … they may as well just give the championship trophy to the referees because they decide what’s going on,” an irate Arnold said at the time.

“You can talk about the A-League and the standard, but until they lift their standards, and I know they’re part-time, but every game I’ve watched in the A-League this year there is some rotten decisions that costs points.

“And tonight … the refs ruin games every week and tonight they’ve ruined goal of the year.”

FFA said opinions differerd with on-pitch rulings could be expressed but in this case Arnold's comments were judged to be "personal" and "gratuitous" and directed more at the individual.

In making their decision, the FFA took into account that Arnold had:

  • sincerely apologised for his comments
  • accepted that his comments were uncalled for and out of line
  • undertaken to review his behaviour when making comments to the media

As a result of Arnold’s admissions and undertakings, FFA delcined to impose a suspension.

Head of Hyundai A-League Damien de Bohun said the fine was a record amount imposed for such a breach.

“A-League coaches need to understand that they have important leadership roles in the game and that their words matter,” de Bohun said.

“We encourage coaches to share insights with the media and fans, it’s part of the job, but there’s a very clear line that should not be crossed.

“In relation to refereeing, comments about a decision or incident are allowed, but making personal, gratuitous and generalised assertions about the people making the calls are out of order.

“I’m satisfied that Graham Arnold now understands this point and has learned a lesson.”

Sydney FC and Arnold have informed FFA that the determination will not be appealed.