Ernie Merrick has learned his fate following an appeal to the Independent Disciplinary & Ethics Committee regarding a $3,000 fine for an alleged breach of the FFA’s National Code of Conduct.
Following a hearing at FFA Headquarters last Tuesday, the Committee deferred their judgement in relation to comments made by Merrick post-match following his sides clash with the Perth Glory in Round 16.
A determination has now been reached with Merrick found guilty of breaching the Code, however his original $3,000 fine was rescinded and replaced with a suspended one-match ban.
Led by John Marshall SC, the Committee noted that their conclusion was reached with ‘some difficulty’ citing the struggles faced by coaches when fronting the media post-match to remain within the confides of the Code.
It was also noted that Merrick was “…the sort of coach and official that the (Hyundai) A-League and football ought be proud to have.” – citing the Scotsman’s experience, knowledge of the game and articulate nature.
Merrick said the Committee indicated that as a whole it did not consider the matter a serious breach.
“John Marshall provided a very thorough report on the matter and I appreciate the work of the Committee and FFA in facilitating a fair hearing,” Merrick said.
“With the structure of the Code of Conduct I was never in a position to be exonerated, but the intent of this exercise was to bring to light some of the inconsistencies we’ve seen in this area.
“Moving forward I hope this situation will spur the FFA to open a continued dialogue with coaches, allowing us to share our views and make a contribution to the development of the game.
“In regards to my suspended sentence, I’ve assured Mr Marshall I will be on my best behaviour moving forward…. honest.
“Thanks again must go to the Football Coaches Australia for their support, as well as Glenn Warry, James Kitching and Darren Kane in building my defence."