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Sep 27, 2007

Musialik suspended for two games

Newcastle Jets midfielder Stuart Musialik has been suspended for one A-League match for verbally abusing Melbourne defender Roddy Vargas, but he was cleared of any form of racial abuse.

The suspension was handed down at a Football Federation Australia disciplinary hearing where Musialik was found guilty of "using offensive or insulting or abusive language and/or gestures".

It had been reported Musialik called Vargas, who is an Australian of Chilean descent, a "black monkey" during last Friday night's heated 2-2 draw at EnergyAustralia Stadium but after Thursday's marathon three-hour hearing the FFA deemed "the comments were not of a racist nature".

The ban - which will become two matches if he receives a yellow or red card in his first match back - is a significant blip on the record of the promising 22-year-old Musialik.

The Newcastle-born player has represented Australia at under-23 and under-20 level, was called into Guus Hiddink's Socceroos train-on squad in the lead up to the 2006 World Cup in Germany and then again prior to Australia's match with Kuwait in Sydney in August of last year.

He will miss Saturday night's match against Sydney FC at the Sydney Football Stadium and will be eligible for selection against league leaders Central Coast on Sunday week at Bluetongue Stadium.

The hearing was the first of this nature in A-League history, but not the first for the sport in Australia.

In January 2001 Melbourne Knights defender Ransford Banini told a Melbourne newspaper Perth striker Bobby Despotovski had called him a "black monkey" during a National Soccer League match on December 31, 2000.

Despotovski denied the allegation, saying he actually said "shut up monkey" to Ghanaian Banini, which Despotovski deemed a lesser offence.

In February 2001 the pair attended a mediation hearing at the Equal Opportunity Commission and sorted out the issue as individuals. Despotovski was not punished.

Matters of this nature are now referred directly to a FFA disciplinary hearing.