Central Coast goalkeeper Danny Vukovic has been handed a 15-month ban for striking referee Mark Shield in Sunday’s Australian A-League grand final defeat to Newcastle.
The Football Federation of Australia (FFA) disciplinary committee found Vukovic guilty of violent conduct after he appeared to slap Shield’s hand in the closing moments of the game.
The ban was reduced to nine months with the remaining six months suspended.
“If Vukovic re-offends in the 12 month period after 24 November 2008, he will be required to serve the remaining six months of his 15 month suspension (in addition to any new sanction),” the FFA said in a statement.
The ban only relates to the A-League but the FFA are considering extending it to all matches, ruling Vukovic out of this year’s Olympics, where he was expected to play for Australia.
The incident occurred as Central Coast players complained to Shield after he dismissed their appeals for a penalty when Newcastle midfielder James Holland appeared to handle the ball.
Central Coast executive chairman Lyall Gorman told reporters that Vukovic had not intended to strike the referee but had apologised to him anyway.
“Danny spoke to Mark after the game,” Gorman said.
“He was full of emotion as you can imagine, he wasn’t clear if there was any contact with the referee but apologised to Mark if there was.”