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Apr 30, 2008

A-League disciplinary code under review

The A-League's under-fire disciplinary process is facing an off-season overhaul just days after Central Coast goalkeeper Danny Vukovic's controversial tailor-made ban for striking a referee.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) chief Ben Buckley has announced a "significant review" of the FFA's disciplinary regulations ahead of the next A-League season.

The competition's judicial process has come under fire for several incidents in the A-League's three seasons.

The most notable was last week's appeals committee decision letting Vukovic split a ban for hitting referee Mark Shield during the A-League grand final in two, allowing him to compete at the Olympic Games.

Earlier in the season Newcastle striker Joel Griffiths escaped serious penalty for striking a linesman in the groin.

Under world governing body FIFA's rules, no further action could be taken against Griffiths because the matter had been deemed dealt with when he was yellow-carded by the referee for the incident.

Buckley said it had always been his intention to undertake a review now, but admitted any inconsistencies would be looked at.

"I want to ensure that football's disciplinary provisions are not only consistent with those of the sport internationally, but also with community expectations within Australia," said Buckley, the former No.2 at the AFL which has a more transparent tribunal process.

"It is a sign of the growing maturity of the competition that we should do so, and it gives us an opportunity to address any inconsistencies in the current provisions."

In a statement, the FFA said the review would take in analysis of other systems including the AFL and NRL, as well as FIFA, the Asian Football Confederation and other soccer leagues.

Issues to be considered will include whether hearings should be open to the media, consistency with the FIFA disciplinary code, accumulation of yellow cards in the A-League and public release of judgements.

The FFA said the review was expected to be completed by the end of June.

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