Muscat handed eight-match ban
The colourful career of controversial former Socceroo Kevin Muscat could be set for an ignominious end after he was today handed an eight-match suspension by A-League authorities. The Melbourne Victory skipper was referred to the league's Disciplinary Committee for an ugly challenge on Melbourne Heart player Adrian Zahra last weekend, which has sidelined the winger for the rest of the season.
The decision means the 37-year-old will be ineligible to play for the Victory again this season and he said that the horror tackle, which he described as "mistimed", perhaps showed the game had passed him by. In a statement released by the club, Muscat accepted the penalty.
"While I was relieved to hear Adrian's injuries weren't career-threatening, I'm still bitterly disappointed by my actions and I wish him a speedy recovery," Muscat said, adding. "I haven't really given any thought to my future."
"My focus over recent days has been on Adrian Zahra and I was pleased to be able to personally apologise to him on Monday - which thankfully he accepted. My actions warranted a lengthy suspension and that's what has eventuated, so now I have to sit down with a variety of people and work out where we go from here."
Footage of the tackle went around the world on YouTube, where it attracted more than one million views, while Zahra has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury sustained in the clash. Despite the suspension Muscat will be able to play in the Victory's upcoming AFC Champions League campaign.
The England-born Muscat has garnered a reputation as one of the most uncompromising players in the game and often attracted the ire of rival fans and players. He has played with Crystal Palace, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Rangers and Millwall, winning 51 caps for Australia between 1994 and 2006.
Muscat gained notoriety among overseas fans for heavy tackles on Craig Bellamy and Christophe Dugarry, the latter in an international against France in 2001 described as an "act of brutality" by French coach Roger Lemerre.
He was also sued by former Charlton Athletic player Matty Holmes, who suffered serious leg injuries after a Muscat tackle in 1998. In 2006 he stoked further controversy when he clashed with Adelaide United coach John Kosmina on the sidelines of an A-League match.