You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Muscat pledges support for A-League refs

AAP logoAAP 25/11/2016 Ben McKay

Perhaps A-League boss Greg O'Rourke's talents might be better utilised in the Middle East, at the United Nations, or calming nerves in America after Donald Trump's election.

Because the first-year FFA chief has won the sort of concession that could see him claiming sport's version of a Nobel Peace Prize.

After a whistle-stop tour talking to A-League coaches and chief executives early in the season, O'Rourke earned a jaw-dropping pledge.

Kevin Muscat has agreed to be nicer to referees.

The all-action Melbourne Victory coach is a force to be reckoned with on the touchline, leaping from his chair to remonstrate with the fourth official or referees with almost every foul, real or imagined, for his team or against it.

To be caught by Muscat's stare is intimidating enough for officials.

His on-field sprays, fuelled by white-line fever, hit the next-level.

It's why Melbourne Victory fans love him unconditionally.

But after a month where on-field decisions have been in the spotlight - and Muscat earned a $5000 fine from head office for criticising a referee - the Victory boss has agreed to tone it down.

"There's been some decisions this season that, OK, people have made mistakes. It's been magnified because those mistakes have resulted in goals," he said on Friday.

"It might be a bit rich hearing it from me, but they've got a job to do that's very, very difficult.

"Maybe we need to - and I'll lead from the front - take a little backward step and let them get on with the job."

Muscat credited the outreach from O'Rourke for the shift in attitude.

The FFA chief has met or talked to every A-League club's coach or chief executive in the last week, winning many over with his conciliatory style.

"I embraced it," Muscat said.

"The fact he made an effort to come to Melbourne, sit down and have some lunch. I thought it was unbelievably healthy."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon