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LIGA MX

Veljko Paunovic fined for referee comments: what did the Chivas coach say?

The Chivas coach has been sanctioned for his criticism of official Fernando Hernández, who himself had only recently returned from a 12-game ban.

Guadalajara
Veljko Paunovic fined for referee comments
Juan Luis Diaz

Chivas Guadalajara head coach Veljko Paunovic has been sanctioned by the FMFs Disciplinary Committee for criticising the matchday officials.

The Serbian coach was hit with a fine after criticising the officials after his side’s 1-1 draw with FC Juárez on Friday night.

Referee Fernando Hernández awarded Juárez a penalty with less than ten minutes remaining while allowed the hosts to level the game. Paunovic reacted angrily in the post-match press conference, claiming that it was “not a coincidence” that his side had been treated unfairly.

The size of Paunovic’s fine has not been made public, but Liga MX regulations stipulate that criticism of officials will be punished with a fine of between 311,220 and 622,440 pesos.

Veljko Paunovic was unhappy with the award of a late penalty for the hosts.
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Veljko Paunovic was unhappy with the award of a late penalty for the hosts.ULISES RUIZAFP

What did Vljko Paunovic say about the referee?

The late penalty denied Chivas a fourth consecutive win at the start of the Liga MX Apertura campaign. They remain top of the table, but Paunovic was furious that Juárez forward Avilés Hurtado was able to score a late equaliser for his side.

Paunovic alleged that VAR had not been consulted to check the decision, despite some doubt over the extent of the contact on Hurtado.

“According to our player, there was no contact and second takes make it clear that it is worth checking,” Paunovic told reporters.

“It is unfortunate and very disappointing because one does not feel that this was a coincidence,” he continued.

Paunovic comments hinted at Fernando Hernández’s past

The situation on Friday was complicated by the referee’s own controversial recent past. Fernando Hernández had just returned to action after serving a ban for kneeing a player in the groin during a game back in April.

The 39-year-old was hit with a 12-match ban for the attack on Leon midfielder Lucas Romero. Hernández’s suspension finished earlier this month but Paunovic questioned the decision to allow him back into the top flight of Mexican football right away.

Fernando Hernández was found guilty of an attack on a player during the Liga MX game between Club America and Leon.
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Fernando Hernández was found guilty of an attack on a player during the Liga MX game between Club America and Leon.Sáshenka GutiérrezEFE

“When we have a player who hasn’t played for months we send him to the reserves or the Under-23s so they can come back more prepared for the competition,” Paunovic explained.

“I’ll say again, I know how these things happen, but it’s football. The truth is that I am very angry... It is unfortunate how we have been treated today by the officials.”

In a statement confirming Paunovic’s fine, the FMF warned that further punishment could be handed out if club officials transgress again.

Club Guadalajara is warned about the future conduct of its Technical Staff,” the document read. “In the event that this type of action occurs again, the Disciplinary Commission may impose more severe sanctions against it.”