Melbourne Victory captain Kevin Muscat has been given an eight-match ban by the A-League Disciplinary Committee. The veteran defender's initial one-match suspension for his horror challenge on youngster Adrian Zahra in the derby against the Melbourne Heart on Saturday night was referred to the Disciplinary Committee after the independent Match Review Panel decided they could not come up with a suitable punishment.
Muscat's tackle has brought the game into disrepute and has been slammed by most media outlets and in a lot of people's eyes, whether they respect him or not, the penalty of eight matches will be looked upon as a little bit of justice.
The knee injury to Zahra is serious enough to keep him out for the rest of the season which is the same fate Muscat has received as his Victory side have just three regular season matches and at this stage, maybe one or two finals, depending on if they make it and then how far they go.
For all the good that Muscat has done for the game in Australia, he has often let himself go on the pitch and this particular incident has been viewed as a very nasty one which could end his career.
He admitted that perhaps the game had passed him by when apologising in the aftermath so there is no doubt, after this ruling, that he will be considering whether he goes around again.
The Victory have decided not to appeal the ban and Muscat has accepted the somewhat hefty sanction.
"I was prepared to accept whatever ban came my way. 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.
"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."