ERNIE Merrick believes it's time for somebody to take a stand for A-League coaches.
In what is believed to be a first, Merrick will attempt to have a $3000 fine overturned at a Football Federation Australia's Ethics and Disciplinary committee hearing in Sydney on Tuesday night.
The most experienced mentor in the league argues that there is a lack of consistency when it comes to disciplinary matters involving coaches and has called for clarity on the games's code of conduct.
"There is this enormous sense of frustration among the coaches, myself especially, and there is this very broad code of conduct which is very hard not to breach," Merrick said.
"I think I am the first coach in 14 seasons to appeal against a decision. The point I'm trying to make is that there is very little dialogue between the coaches and the administration of the referees. We don’t have the right to defend ourselves in person before the fine is issued and it’s very difficult for us to know where the line is in terms of what we can say."
Merrick was slugged $3000 for saying after the round-16 2-0 loss to Perth, in which there were two contentious decisions, that the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) "was having a cup of tea" and that he "didn't have a chance to look at it, he probably fell asleep."
The coach maintains the comments were "tongue in cheek" and far less disparaging than commentary made by some of his contemporaries this season.
"The VAR, Kris Griffiths-Jones, had to sit through two games that day," Merrick said. "He was effectively in that bunker for five hours. You are not going to tell me, he can stay concentrated for five hours.
"In a tongue-in-cheek way I was highlighting some of the issues. I have tried every other way to try and help develop the VAR system and to talk with the director of referees, to deliver presentations and videos. Every week we’re dealing with frustrations from the VAR yet FFA don’t have any discussion with coaches to explain how it will be implemented. We don't know when there is going to be intervention or not. At the start of the season there was a lot of intervention which made a lot of people unhappy. Now it seems to be only if there is an absolute screaming howler do they intervene.
"The referees will decide what the referees want to do. It is more about information and general dialogue when something is introduced."
The sanction is Merrick's third in an A-League career spanning 12 seasons and 291 games.
He has vowed to pay the fine himself if the appeal is unsuccessful.
"You have seen recent remarks from a range of coaches but I have been singled out, I feel," he said.
Wellington coach Mark Rudan reportedly escaped a sanction for a spray at referee Adam Kersey following a 2-all draw with Perth.
"It couldn't of been more one-sided…If he can sleep well at night, good on him. He's cost us, he certainly has," Rudan said.
Western Sydney coach Markus Babbel unleashed after a series of contentious calls in a 4-3 loss to Perth. Asked if he would voice his grievances to the FFA, the coach said: "If they don't see it, then they're f------- blind. So they have to see it and they have to do something because the quality is not good enough."
Former Mariners coach Mike Mulvey implied his side copped bad calls because of their lowly position on the ladder after they had a penalty call turned down in a 1-0 loss to the Jets.
"This is not the first time it's happened for us," he said. "Let's keep beating the bottom team. Let's keep beating them with a bat and say, 'No, you don't get that, you don't get, you don't get that'."