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MLS manager hit with six-game ban for 'disgusting' joke

Josh Lawless

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MLS manager hit with six-game ban for 'disgusting' joke

An MLS manager has been banned for six games after making comments about a referee which were labelled "disgusting" by the Professional Soccer Referees Association.

Vancouver Whitecaps boss Vanni Sartini fumed after his side's loss to LAFC last month, a result that saw the Canadian outfit eliminated from the MLS play-offs.

In the game, the Italian was sent off for his reaction to an incident in the game.

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From a corner in stoppage time where goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka had come up, referee Tim Ford got in the way of Whitecaps midfielder Alessandro Schopf.

An accidental collision and loss of possession meant the visitors broke in a three-on-one counter attack.

Carlos Vela passed for Denis Bouanga, who slotted home. The players surrounded the referee and eventually the goal was disallowed for offside as the goalkeeper was behind the ball.

Sartini had already been sent off for his conduct on the touchline and afterwards, in his press conference, made remarks about the official dying.

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Image: Getty
Image: Getty

"If they found him in False Creek then I'm going to be a suspect," he said.

"I'm not saying that I would do it, I'm saying I'm the first suspect, it's different."

Sartini apologised for the insensitive comments a day on from the game but the MLS opened an investigation.

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And after nearly a month, the outcome of the probe is for an additional five-game ban following his initial one-game suspension.

He has also been fined $20,000 (£15,700). The suspension starts in the first game of the 2024 MLS regular season.

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

“Following our last match, I have taken the time to reflect, listen, and will always continue to learn,” Sartini said in a statement, as per the Whitecaps website.

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“As I shared at our end-of-season media conference, I am deeply sorry for my actions on the field, as well as my poor choice of words. I know that it is not easy to be a match official.

"This was not a good reflection of the respect that I have for the work that they do, so for that, again, I am sorry. I also regret that because of my actions, l will not be on the bench for the start of our MLS season.

"I have already been in contact with the league, and I am committed to all recommendations and will also look for additional opportunities to learn and grow.”

Featured Image Credit: Getty & MLS

Topics: MLS

Josh Lawless
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