Sydney FC coach Frank Farina says the A-League's vilification drama could have been settled on the pitch with an apology to Ali Abbas.
Sky Blues midfielder Abbas reacted angrily to Western Sydney Wanderers player Brendon Santalab during the second half of Saturday's Sydney Derby and in a television interview after the game, alleged he had been religiously and culturally abused, although he didn't specify whether it was Santalab who did this.
The club lodged a formal complaint on Sunday morning, leading Football Federation Australia to open an investigation into the incident.
But Farina believes the matter should have be left on the field.
"It is disappointing I mean that situation could have been quashed straight away," the coach said at Allianz Stadium on Wednesday.
"Ali Abbas is a very honest, reliable and loyal person so for him to react that way – I have not seen him react that way since I've been at the club - so obviously the alleged incident, something was said and I believe Ali unequivocally.
"But the whole situation could have been finished, knowing Ali really well, if it had been said and if the person that had said it had apologised, it would be over.
"There'd be no investigation, there'd be no further talks in the media about it, it'd be done and dusted ... but it isn't and that's an ongoing investigation with the FFA so I don't know where they're at, at the moment."
Farina says Abbas, who was born in Iraq, is in good spirits and insists the matter hasn't been a distraction for the team ahead of Friday's blockbuster clash with Brisbane Roar.
"He's settled down, he's a very calm person but it must have been something out of the ordinary or pretty bad for him to react in that way," he said.
"But he's certainly focused now on the game, I only recently had a talk to him this morning over a coffee and he's focused and he's ready to go.
"It's something that happens in football, unfortunately it's not a great incident but I think Ali handled it extremely well, very smart in the sense that he did not say after the game what was allegedly said.
"And I think if he wasn't as smart and professional as he is this whole situation could have been very, very ugly."