Mariners coach slams A-League over ruling

March 11, 2012
By Justin Chadwick

Central Coast coach Graham Arnold has accused the A-League's decision makers of compromising player welfare by forcing teams to compete in extreme heat.

Arnold has called for Professional Footballers Australia to step in and take up the issue with Football Federation Australia after the Mariners and Glory were ordered to play in stifling Perth heat on Sunday.

On a day where the maximum reached 41.1C, the temperature was still hovering above 36C at the 4.30pm kick-off time.

Central Coast's doctor had asked for the match to be pushed back to 5.30pm; an outcome Arnold was also keen to achieve.

But their efforts were in vain and Perth eventually won the match 1-0 after a goalkeeping blunder from Mathew Ryan gifted an easy goal to Travis Dodd in the 25th minute.

The A-League's heat concessions allowed for a two-minute drinks break midway through each half.

But it wasn't enough to satisfy Arnold, who believed player welfare had been compromised by not delaying the game.

"For me, I just want some sense. It's crazy playing football in those conditions," Arnold said.

"There were two doctors and a match commissioner who made the decision.

"When our doctor turned up ... he said the match should be delayed by an hour. It's too hot. It's 42 degrees on my phone.

"There used to be a rule in the old NSL that you couldn't kick off before six o'clock in summer. I don't know where that rule's gone.

"For me I could see from the sides that both teams were shot. I just worry about player welfare. Maybe it's something the PFA need to look at.

"Again, it's not an excuse. It's just common sense. I'm not a sore loser at all."

Arnold blamed the stifling conditions for the suspected cracked rib suffered by Glory skipper Jacob Burns, who copped an accidental elbow from Mariners defender Josh Rose.

"That Jacob Burns injury probably wouldn't have happened in a game of normal (conditions) because he would have been able to get out of the way, or Josh Rose would have been able to get out of the way," Arnold said.

"But because they're over-fatigued, and their brains aren't functioning properly and their reflexes aren't as sharp, that's what happens."

The Mariners, with just one win from their past seven A-League fixtures, are now just two points clear of second-placed Brisbane.

Arnold was hopeful striker Bernie Ibini (twisted knee) would be fit to tackle Adelaide at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday.

Perth, who leapfrogged Wellington into third spot on the table, will be without suspended pair Steve Pantelidis and Josh Mitchell for Sunday's away clash with Gold Coast, while Burns is almost certain to miss as well.