Mariners accept Perez ban

Following confirmation last night from Football Federation Australia (FFA) that the two-match suspension imposed upon Mariners midfielder Patricio Perez would stand, the Central Coast Mariners have today accepted FFA’s decision and will not be seeking to take any further action.

Following confirmation last night from Football Federation Australia (FFA) that the two-match suspension imposed upon Mariners midfielder Patricio Perez would stand, the Central Coast Mariners have today accepted FFA-s decision and will not be seeking to take any further action.

In doing so, the Mariners would like to express their disappointment that despite considerable discussion with FFA and other stakeholders, a way could not be found to enable the player an opportunity to defend himself through an appeal mechanism.

Mariners Chairman Peter Turnbull reaffirmed the club-s support for Perez and its belief that he was innocent of any wrongdoing.

"Patricio Perez has been recruited from Argentina, and in the half-hour he played against Sydney FC proved he may well be one of the greatest assets the Hyundai A-League has in its quest to become the pre-eminent football code in the country.

"Patricio maintains there was definitely contact by the goalkeeper on his back leg and the replays prove that he had his eyes on the ball at all times as he tried to round the ‘keeper to score.

"The club has engaged the assistance of Biomechanical experts from the University of Newcastle to study the vision of the incident, and the report they have provided us supports his innocence.

"(Referee) Matthew Breeze was in an excellent position and made an immediate decision after the goalkeeper left his line and lunged at the feet of Perez.

"Patricio is hugely respected in his home country, he-s played alongside some of the world-s biggest stars, and after this news reached the Argentine media, his reputation has suffered, but I would like to commend him for the dignity, respect and professional attitude he has shown through this most difficult time.

"We have also been overwhelmed by the amount of support we have received from Mariners Members and supporters, and from football supporters in general. Patricio and the club are indeed grateful for this support," said Mr Turnbull.

The Mariners will now do everything in their power to assist the FFA to review the regulations to ensure future fairness for all parties.

"We are firmly behind the FFA-s determination to rid the game of simulation and it is pleasing to hear that the FFA will set up a taskforce to review the system and make recommendations to a formal review of the regulations and we would be more than happy to be involved in that should FFA require.

"The Mariners have a massive home game against Melbourne Victory tomorrow night at Bluetongue Stadium, and we would urge all of our Members and supporters to get out and show their support for a team who has had a pretty tough week," said Mr Turnbull.