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Phoenix 'disturbed' by match ban decision

NZN 17/04/2016

The Wellington Phoenix say they're "disturbed" by Football Federation Australia's handling of a disciplinary case against Melbourne Victory player Besart Berisha.

The club has asked for an explanation about the process which saw Berisha's sanction following a red carding this month reduced.

The 30-year-old Albanian was penalised and later handed a two-game suspension for kicking out at Phoenix captain Andrew Durante while getting treatment during Victory's 4-1 win on April 2.

But FFA's disciplinary committee dropped that to one match after an appeal hearing on Tuesday, allowing him to play in Friday's loss against the Brisbane Roar.

The committee viewed photos and footage showing Durante's hand reaching out to Berisha while he was on the ground receiving medical treatment after being knocked on the head during an aerial contest.

But the Phoenix on Sunday said they were concerned with parts of the appeal process after viewing that footage themselves.

"The Wellington Phoenix is most disturbed that the overwhelming video evidence in this case was ignored in favour of two still photographs, along with testimony by employees of Melbourne Victory, which has subsequently called into question the reputation and character of our club captain," the club said in a statement.

"Durante is an outstanding ambassador for our club and the A-League, and the Wellington Phoenix is concerned unfounded comments about his actions in the incident have been made public."

Berisha told the committee that as he lay on the ground in a "dizzy" and sore state receiving a concussion test by the doctor, Durante approached him and moved his boot onto his hip and his hand to his throat.

"He moved close to my hip with his boot and he said `You have nothing wrong, stand up', and he kept pushing at my hip," Berisha said.

"He was pushing down on my throat and I couldn't even talk to the doctor."

While unable to confirm any contact with Berisha's throat, the committee agreed it was Durante's intention to bait Berisha into reacting.

Berisha's claims sparked an angry response from Durante.

"What a bunch of disgraceful lies. Grabbed him by the throat?? Can I please get sent that footage? I won't have my name tarnished by lies," Durante tweeted earlier in the week.

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