Laidley backs down over umpire criticism - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Laidley backs down over umpire criticism

By Sam Lienert 06/04/2008 12:19:33 PM Comments (0)

North Melbourne coach Dean Laidley has apologised for criticising the umpires who officiated in his side's loss to Hawthorn, saying his comments were completely unfounded.

Laidley said straight after Saturday's defeat that he planned to complain to the AFL over "conversations and body language and sounds from umpires that shouldn't happen at this level".

But on Sunday the Kangaroos coach said that after football manager Donald McDonald reviewed audio of the match with AFL director of umpiring Jeff Gieschen, they found nothing untoward from the umpires.

"I was wrong to make any public statement about the umpiring in the match and accept that any concerns should have been directed to Jeff Gieschen through the normal channels," Laidley said in a statement.

"To (officiating umpires) Todd Keating, Martin Ellis, and Matthew Head, I unreservedly apologise for any inference caused by my inappropriate statements.

"I will make contact with Jeff Gieschen over the next 24-48 hours so that I arrange to speak directly to the umpires concerned."

Laidley said he had made his initial outburst based on information received from a senior Kangaroos player.

The Roos said in Sunday's statement that Laidley's comments were "completely unfounded and unwarranted".

"This statement represents the club's final position on the matter," they said.

Laidley is the second AFL head coach in a fortnight to issue an apology soon after publicly criticising AFL officials.

Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse unreservedly apologised to AFL bosses two weeks ago for saying a limit on interchanges put in place during the pre-season was "stupid" and created by "stupid people".

An AFL spokesman said no action was expected to be taken against Laidley over his comments, given his apology.

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