A three-week suspension for W-League player Tiana Jaber in the NPLW has raised concerns of gender bias, claims dismissed by Capital Football.
Jaber was sent off in the 61st minute of West Canberra Wanderers' 1-0 loss against Canberra Olympic FC in round eight of the NPLW.
On a broadcast of the match, she can be heard about 10 metres from the referee, after a free kick was awarded to Olympic, stating: "It has to go both ways ref, this isn't fair. Who hired you?"
West Canberra player-coach Emma Stanbury said the incident did not warrant a red card and would not have resulted in one if the same situation had occurred in a men's match.
Capital Football chief executive officer Phil Brown said Jaber was sent off for directing abusive and insulting language towards the referee and a tribunal was not granted after West Canberra lodged an appeal for an obvious error.
He said Jaber received the minimum sanctions for using offensive, insulting language; a three-week ban which saw her miss the Federation Cup final on Saturday.
"Under the regulations they believed the abuse warranted a yellow card instead of a red card," Brown said.
"The threshold for there to be an obvious error is not just any error; it's an obvious error, that no card was warranted. It was clear from the language used that ... it was a sanctionable offence by the referee, therefore it didn't meet the threshold for obvious error and it wasn't then able ... to be sent to a tribunal for consideration."
Stanbury believed a yellow card and a discussion would have been more appropriate for the incident.
The Wanderers were disappointed their misinterpretation of the regulations regarding obvious error were not communicated before the appeal was denied, as it cost them Jaber for the Cup final.
"We have volunteers that help our club that put in appeals for these things. They're not trained legal professionals," she said.
"So if they've ticked the wrong box or worded something wrong, Capital Football has to remember it's community football."
Brown denied the red card had anything to do with gender and said anyone who suggested that was missing the point completely.
"This is all about the abuse of referees and it is sad that a club would look to seek for a suspension to be removed for a player because there's an important Federation Cup final match that is more important than acknowledging and addressing the abuse of referees," he said.
"We lose 40 per cent of our referees every year ... and while people try to deflect the attention or miss that. This is something that needs to be addressed."
Stanbury said she did not condone the abuse of referees but it was gendered, as the threshold for what was deemed abusive from NPLW players versus NPL was obvious.
"It 100 per cent would not have been a red card in a men's game," Stanbury said.
"You do a call for a slide tackle here and there, and they take it as, 'Oh, you're being aggressive'. If men do it, they're passionate and this is the issue.
"There's a difference between aggressively shouting and then also just shouting for a call. She was not aggressive. There was no two-way communication."
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