Matt Simon suspension: FFA miss chance to make a stand against referee abuse

The governing body failed to make a stand against referee abuse

There is no doubt Central Coast Mariners skipper Matt Simon is usually a great leader for his team and ambassador to the A-League.

His work-rate and desire on the pitch is always outstanding, even if his goal output has dried up, and the story of the relationship he struck up with a Sydney FC fan who lost a child was absolutely heartwarming.

But regardless of his off-field standing, Simon should have been suspended by Football Federation Australia for a lot longer than two matches for calling referee Stephen Lucas a 'f***ing dog' in the 5-3 loss to Brisbane Roar last month.

Even though the 33-year-old is remorseful of his actions and has apologised to Lucas, his foul-mouthed tirade at an official is simply inexcusable and a horrific example for youngsters watching the A-League.

Not only was Simon's aggressive actions broadcast live nationally, but it was also seen by thousands of people on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

While it's not apples for apples, compare Simon's suspension to the 10-game ban received by Newcastle Jets striker Roy O'Donovan for his careless fly-kick on Melbourne Victory's Lawrence Thomas in the grand final.

And also the recent two-match penalty handed to Brisbane Roar's Jamie Young for following a mistimed challenge?

Which incident out of the three is a worse look for the league and its reputation?

There has been tension between A-League referees and the game's participants this season with the whistleblowers protesting against their treatment by covering up the '#Respect' hashtag on their jersey late last year.

This decision by the FFA on Simon is unlikely to improve that apprehension by the referees on how they are treated - and certainly in this case, the feeling is warranted.

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A four-to-six game suspension from the FFA to Simon would have been a much more appropriate punishment and signalled a message that abuse of referees is not on.

Instead, a light punishment for the Mariners captain is really not much of a deterrent for the next player or coach to mouth off at an official.