MLS suspends Vanni Sartini for violating league policy in loss vs LAFC

  • Sartini was upset with the officials in playoff loss to LAFC
  • He will now miss the first six games of the regular season
  • 47-year-old can get suspension reduced based on his compliance with programs

MLS has fined and suspended Vanni Sartini
MLS has fined and suspended Vanni Sartini / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The MLS disciplinary committee suspends Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini for six games after multiple violations of the league's policy during his team's postseason exit to LAFC on November 5.

Sartini was visibly upset in stoppage time in game two vs the Black and Gold when the Whitecaps were down 1-0 with just moments remaining in the game.

Vancouver had a corner kick, looking to send the game to penalty kicks and force a decisive game three as the ball fell to the edge of the penalty area for a Whitecaps player about to have a crack at goal. However, referee Timothy Ford stood in between the ball and Alessandro Schopf, prohibiting the player from shooting.

As a result, Sartini was livid on the touchline as he strongly felt his team were denied a chance at keeping their playoff hopes alive. Sartini was then shown a red card in the 95th minute by Ford after stepping on to the pitch when he was enraged by the officiating. Following the match, the player made threatening comments that violated league policy.

The coach will now sit out six games total, one for the red card and an additional five for the comments made in the post-match press conference. He was also fined $20,000 and must "complete a league-approved behavioral assessment and comply with any recommended treatment."

In more specific terms, Sartini was handed the punishment due to "entering the field of play in a confrontational manner and public criticism following the match." If he makes progress in the programs he'll take part in, he may have the chance to get his suspension reduced.

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