Although I've been banging the drum about the bizarro James Riley red card and lack of public information about it for the past week, another suspension took place last weekend against D.C. United that was also unclear. You may recall that Chivas USA head coach Robin Fraser was sent off in the September 15 game against the San Jose Earthquakes at the Home Depot Center, as he disputed the penalty call leveled at John Valencia. Sent off just before halftime, Fraser was off the sideline for the remainder of the match, as well as the following game, against the Columbus Crew on September 19.
The standard suspension for a coach getting ejected from a match is one game. Some coaches get longer suspensions, but these have been leveled through the Disciplinary Committee, and come with full explanations.
Here's where it gets interesting: Fraser was suspended for the D.C. game as well. Since there was no announcement of Fraser receiving a second game off the sideline, the story seemed strangely familiar to Riley's red card situation. I wasn't even aware that Fraser was out until the game was underway.
Although the suspension has been served, and could be considered a moot point, I wanted to get to the bottom of the situation. I asked the club for some explanation, and they provided a statement from Fraser himself:
There was a miscommunication as where I could and could not be, in relation to the game in Columbus. Although the league assumed some responsibility for not giving me detailed instructions as to what was allowed, I was still served a second game suspension for being in the locker room at halftime. Years ago, as an assistant coach at RSL, I witnessed the head coach being able to be present during his suspensions. I just did what I had already seen done before. Apparently the rules have changed since then. In my suspension notice, there was no mention of where I could, and could not be.
I didn't agree with the second game suspension, but we are all here to abide by the rules, and the rulings of the league.
That obviously clears matters up, and on one hand, it makes sense. Fraser had contact with the team during a game that he was suspended, so he had to serve another game.
On the other hand, this is another example of a league that needs to have clear directions and systems in place. Fraser was following the rules he was familiar with, and the league evidently didn't give him explicit directions as to what he was and was not allowed to do. Does this strike you as professional?
At any rate, the suspension has evidently been fully served and Fraser will be back on the sidelines Saturday against Real Salt Lake. And as far as I'm aware (fingers crossed) nobody else is suspended for Chivas ahead of the match. But you never know - stay tuned.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!