The Adelaide United defender has been handed a four-match ban – with two suspended – after fronting Football Federation Australia’s independent disciplinary and ethics committee in Sydney last night.
Having already served his mandatory match suspension for the red card he was shown, Marrone will only miss this Friday’s match with Sydney FC before he’ll be free to return against Melbourne Victory on December 8.
Adelaide said it accepted the “fair and reasonable result”.
In dealing out the punishment for serious unsporting conduct, the committee took into account Marrone’s excellent disciplinary record featuring a single previous red card across 188 professional games.
It also acknowledged the incident had occurred in the 115th minute of a Cup final, a moment of particularly heightened tension given the Reds had just conceded a goal putting them 2-1 down to eventual winners Sydney FC.
Marrone’s representative, interim Adelaide chief executive Nathan Kosmina, emphasised that the right-back did not retaliate to Matt Simon’s furious reaction nor contribute to the ensuing melee.
The 30-year-old also made an immediate effort to apologise to the ball boy and later emailed his family directly to express his remorse.
Marrone had been seeking to take a quick throw-in during extra-time but the ball boy, who later joined in Sydney’s victory celebrations and was given a winner’s medal by Michael Zullo, did not give the ball back.
Marrone tried to take it off him but the ball boy turned away and in so doing, fell to the ground under the weight of the player’s momentum.
“It doesn’t look good,” Marrone said at the hearing.
“But at the time I just wanted to get the ball back. I was motioning for the ball, and at the one point it seemed like he wasn’t going to give me the ball.
“You can see what happened which was unfortunate. I shouldn’t have touched him.
“I just wanted to take a throw-in, there wasn’t much time left. I thought, I’m going to grab the ball off him.
“I thought I was just going to be able to take it from his hands, but he moved and it looked very ugly.”
The disciplinary committee agreed Marrone should have taken another course of action, with chair John Marshall SC lamenting “the fact there is a young ball boy, about 10 or 12, who ended up on the ground”.
But while it focused only on Marrone’s actions, FFA’s disciplinary counsel Ivan Griscti suggested the ball boy may not have been completely innocent, remarking that “he seems to start limping… he grabs his thigh”.
Teammates have rallied around the quietly spoken Marrone amid fierce media criticism, while the players’ union argued he should never have been cited.
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