MLS suspends manager for six games for vile comments about referee dying

Major League Soccer have suspended Vancouver Whitecaps manager Vanni Sartini after he joked about referee Tom Ford dying.

The Whitecaps were eliminated from the MLS playoffs by Los Angeles FC last month in the best-of-three series, drawing the first leg 1-1 before losing the second leg away 5-2 and eventually beaten 1-0 at home in the final leg, seeing Sartini make a joke about the referee passing away.

Speaking to the Canadian Press, Sartini said: “If they found him in False Creek then I'm going to be a suspect. I'm not saying that I would do it, I'm saying I'm the first suspect, it's different.”

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Anger sparked with referee Ford during the final game after Vancouver’s players and staff were upset with the decision to award a penalty, before in the latter stages of the game, the referee collided with midfielder Alessandro Schopf after a corner kick.

Vancouver’s goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic had come up for the corner, leaving the Canadian’s side goal completely open. As the corner was cleared, Ford’s collision with Schopf saw LA break on a three on one attack.

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Despite LA scoring from the resulting attack, the goal was eventually disallowed for offside. However, Sartini had already lost his head from the earlier coming together, even running onto the pitch to confront the official alongside his players.

Sartini was red carded which saw him handed an automatic one match ban, but following his comments, a further five games were added by the MLS. Sartini did apologise for his comments afterwards but the damage was already done.

LAFC’s side involving former Arsenal striker Carlos Vela and Juventus legend Giorgio Chiellini beat Seattle Sounders in the conference semi-final before beating Houston Dynamo in the conference final. They now face Columbus Crew in the MLS Cup final next Saturday.

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