MLS suspends Vancouver coach Sartini for six games

football30 November 2023 21:29| © AFP
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Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini was suspended for six games by Major League Soccer on Thursday after multiple league policy violations in a season-ending playoff loss earlier this month.

The 47-year-old Italian was shown a red card in the 95th minute of a 1-0 loss to Los Angeles FC on November 5 that eliminated Vancouver in the first round of the MLS playoffs.

Sartini was ejected for verbal abuse of the referee after the official had accidentally bumped into a Whitecaps player, preventing him from defending on what appeared to be an LAFC counter-attack goal which was later ruled out.

Sartini was hit was a one-game ban for the ejection but the league added an extra five games to the ban for what an MLS statement called his "violation of league policies, including entering the field of play in a confrontational manner and public criticism following the match."

Sartini, who was also find $20 000, must complete a league-approved behavioral assessment and comply with any recommended treatment programs before he can return.

His suspension will begin with the Whitecaps' 2024 season opener, but he could petition for a suspension reduction after compliance with any treatment recommendation.

Sartini was not the only Vancouver staffer punished after a 94th-minute mass confrontation policy violation from the LAFC loss.

Vancouver defender Mathias Laborda of Uruguay was issued a one-match suspension and fined an undisclosed sum for entering the field of play in a confrontational manner and sparking or escalating a mass confrontation.

Whitecaps goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka, defender Ranko Veselinovic, midfielder Ryan Gauld and forward Simon Becher were issued undisclosed fines for inciting and/or escalating a mass confrontation.

Vancouver technical staff and players were in violation of MLS policy regarding entry to the field of play during a confrontational incident.

Whitecaps assistant coaches Youssef Dahha and Michael D'Agostino and Vancouver midfielders Luis Martins and Ali Ahmed and defender Javian Brown were issued undisclosed fines for entering the field of play in a confrontational manner.