Tough sanctions for quartet after investigation into brawl between Jets, Phoenix

Multiple match bans have been dealt by the A-League's independent match review panel, with the Phoenix hit hardest after three of their players received bans

Chief protagonists Manny Muscat and Tiago Calvano have been hit hardest by the A-League's match review panel in the wake of Saturday's brawl during a pre-season match between the Wellington Phoenix and the Newcastle Jets, handed four-match sanctions for their involvement.

As well as losing defensive utility Muscat, the Phoenix will also be without defensive duo Ben Sigmund [three matches] and Andrew Durante [two matches], with Tiago the only Jets player to be punished.

All four players were shown red cards during Saturday's friendly, with the Jets' 3-1 win overshadowed by a brawl that began in the 25th minute when Muscat and Tiago clashed.

Muscat responded by throwing a punch at the Brazilian defender, with players of both teams becoming involved.

Muscat, Tiago and Sigmund were dismissed in the aftermath of the brawl, with Durante sent off in the second half.

The bans apply to FFA sanctioned pre-season matches and A-League regular-season games if sanctions are still outstanding come the start of the 2012-13 campaign in October.

"This kind of unprofessional and unsportsmanlike behaviour has no place in our game," said head of A-League Damien de Bohun told via statement.

"Having been involved in football for a long time it is very disappointing to witness the on-field incident that occurred on Saturday as it detracts from our sport – a sport built on speed, skill and flair.

"I look forward to meeting with each Hyundai A-League Club before the season commences and reinforce not only our expectations on the professionalism of the sport but ways in which we can work together to grow the game."

Newcastle Jets chief executive officer Robbie Middleby said soon after that the club "support the FFA's decision and accept the punishment" of Tiago.

The bans come a day after the Phoenix handed down their own sanctions, fining the three players in question.

Phoenix general manager David Dome said both the club and coach Ricki Herbert had made it clear those sort of actions had no place at the club.

"Notwithstanding the play that led to the incidents, the club in no way condones any kind of retribution or fighting in a match. It is totally unacceptable and we have taken action immediately following the match," he said.

"The day after the match Herbert addressed the entire squad and expressed his displeasure.

"He was unequivocal that incidents of this type will not be accepted by any player regardless of their seniority in the team."

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