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Popovic fined over referee jibe

AAP logoAAP 21/11/2016 Emma Kemp

Football Federation Australia has punished yet another A-League manager for speaking out against referees, fining Western Sydney coach Tony Popovic $3000.

FFA found Popovic guilty of breaching the body's National Code of Conduct after he took aim at referee Jarred Gillett over a missed penalty in his side's round-six 3-0 loss to Melbourne Victory.

Gillett decided against awarding a penalty to the Wanderers when Jason Geria crudely tackled Jumpei Kasakumi in the box.

Replays showed the young fullback missed the ball and fouled the Japanese attacker, an error A-League boss Greg O'Rourke named on Monday as one of 11 recorded from this season's opening six rounds.

"If that's not a penalty, they should book him for diving," Popovic said post-match on Fox Sports.

The Wanderers boss also made pointed reference to the club's record with Gillett in the middle - just one win in 11 games - suggesting "maybe it's just a coincidence".

O'Rourke reiterated it was vital "all players and coaches consider their words carefully when offering their thoughts".

"Any comments direct or implied that reflect on the integrity of a referee are unacceptable and will be acted upon in line with our code of conduct," O'Rourke said.

"Respect towards match officials is not a nice to have, it is a fundamental of our game required at every level."

Popovic is the fourth manager to earn FFA's ire for outbursts less than a third of the way through a season making headlines for contentious refereeing decisions.

Adelaide coach Guillermo Amor on Monday copped a one-game touchline ban and must now face a tribunal to decide whether his punishment is increased after he was sent to the stands during Friday's 3-1 loss to Glory.

Perth coach Kenny Lowe (two-match ban) and Victory coach Kevin Muscat ($5000 fine) have also found themselves in hot water.

It comes a day after O'Rourke mounted a fierce defence of the league's adjudicators in response to a weekend embroiled in controversy that saw managers' relationship with officials reach boiling point.

O'Rourke declared the standard of officiating the best the competition has seen, using FFA statistics showing that up until round six there were 11 errors recorded - an improvement on previous years.

He intends to open dialogue with clubs to "re-set the expectations" of frustrated coaches.

Popovic has seven business days to appeal.

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