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Wellington accept Sigmund ban

The Wellington Phoenix have announced they will accept the one-match ban handed down to defender Ben Sigmund following the weekend's clash with Adelaide United.

The club today issued a short statement saying they had "respectfully accepted the decision" and general manager David Dome added, "the correct process had been followed and so far as the club is concerned the matter has been laid to rest".

Sigmund, 31, was dismissed under highly controversial circumstances after Adelaide's Jeronimo Neumann appeared to dive, and Phoenix manager Ricki Herbet attacked the A-League Match Review Panel's decision to uphold the red card and not punish Neumann for diving.

"The referee in the Chelsea-Manchester United game this morning (in the Premier League) dealt with Fernando Torres, who went down in the same manner as Neumann, by showing him a red card," Herbert said.

"Unfortunately the referee in our game with Adelaide did not deal with the situation competently and we are paying the penalty rather than the player who was guilty of simulation.

"This referee has been in the same situation in a grand final and did not deal with it competently there either.

"It is very disappointing for both Ben and the club that he will miss the game against Melbourne Victory, and also wrong that the game is being ruined by players who dive and do not get punished for it."

Sigmund may not be the only one facing time on the sidelines, with Herbert also possibly coming under fire from Football Federation Australia for his comments. Wellington captain Andrew Durante is also facing punishment for labelling Neumann a "cheat" in a post-game interview, with the defender having possibly breached the A-League player code of conduct.

Meanwhile the player at the centre of the controversy, Neumann, has defended his reputation saying he is not a "cheat" and that the referee made the correct decision.

''No, no (I didn't dive),'' said Neumann. I felt the player grab my t-shirt and I went down. He clipped me on my ankle and I felt like it was part of the game. He was the last man, so that's a far call (to send Sigmund off).''

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