The Muscat IncidentBy: Nathan | January 27th, 2011
Eight weeks. We finally have a decision on the tackle thatâ€™s been on everybodyâ€™s lips. After the third ever Melbourne Derby, dubbed the decider due to the results previously sitting at one a piece, all of the talk was not of the Heartâ€™s fight back from 2-0 down to draw level with their navy neighbours. No, the talk was of a tackle that has made international news and caused almost everyone other than a slice of Victory supporters call for Muscatâ€™s head.
In case youâ€™ve been living under a rock youâ€™ll know that in the 79th minute of the 32,000 plus attended game Kevin Muscat received a straight red (he was also already sitting on a yellow) for driving leg first at Adrian Zahras knees in what has been described as the worst tackle in A-League history. It caused the flipping of Zahraâ€™s entire body and Muscatâ€™s own lid once the ref produced the red. Yes, Muscat showed no remorse nor did he think he should as he gave the ref an earful and stormed to the sideline where he blessed himself before hitting the shower.
Since then Muscatâ€™s offered different forms of apologies that have largely been shrugged off as empty gestures heâ€™s only doing to attempt to lighten the penalty and clean up his character as he looks for an after football job. Very few have been fooled.
Initially the hearing was set for the Match Review Panel on Monday. We eagerly awaited the announcement but were only given longer to wait. The reason for this is the seriousness of the offence. The Match Review Panel can only allot a certain penalty before it had to move further… and this warranted further.
The discussions have been plentiful and varied in opinion. Some are claiming a â€˜culture of violenceâ€™ at the club, some arenâ€™t going as far but continue to bring up Muscatâ€™s history. Others believe that a players history, especially in competitions other than the A-league, is entirely irrelevant and should not be bought in to consideration in this case. Personally, I think history has plenty to do with it. Mistimed or not thereâ€™s only so many times you can call something a coincidence if itâ€™s the same player doing this sort of thing. I donâ€™t think Victory have a violent culture and would never label them the A-Leagues Thugs before, so I wonâ€™t start to now. Muscat is a different story. Zahra has now joined Bellamy, Holmes, Dugarry and Henrique on a list of players who have been on the wrong end Muscatâ€™s undeniably dirty activity on the football field. Seven years ago Muscat faced legal action after former Charlton player Matty Holmes sued him for $6 million over a tackle that left him with a badly broken leg, eventually settling for $600,000 in damages and legal costs. Muscat has always â€˜played the game on the edgeâ€™ as he calls it but this tackle may have shown, in the most extreme way, that the A-League has past him and he should have retired after last season as originally intended.
So whether it was indeed a mistimed tackle or the well planned attack many argue it looked like it all came down to this tonightâ€™s hearing and we have a decision; 8 weeks.
Fans and pundits alike often call for some consistency in how the A-League is being refereed with many hard tackles going un punished because thatâ€™s â€˜the Australian wayâ€™ to certain refs while some softer tackles are over punished as the Match Review Panel tries to clean up the game. Let us know your thoughts below; has justice been achieved? Are Victory fans happy to be rid fo a liability or is this a sad day in the life of a navy legend? Has a precedent now been set or has Muscat been used as a scapegoat in a case of an extreme decision being made based on public outcry?