Jordan Murrell Facing Multi-Game Suspension
Update: Jordan Murrell has since apologized for his conduct during the game. He has now also stepped down as club captain.
It’s easy to see why Valour FC players are feeling frustrated right now: the Canadian Premier League club has now gone over two months (or eleven games) without a win, and currently sits at the bottom of the fall season table. Today, the club fell to a narrow 1-0 away loss against the Halifax Wanderers after conceding from a corner for the sixth time this season, which is a league high. It was a goal that appeared to come off of the hand of Wanderers centre-back Matthew Arnone.
The winless streak was made even worse for Valour FC head coach Rob Gale, who will now see team captain Jordan Murrell miss at least three games after receiving a red card for violent conduct – though it’s likely to be extended to an even larger suspension. If he is charged with assaulting a match official, that carries a minimum six month suspension, meaning he would miss the rest of the season.
When Jordan Murrell was brought down in the 90th minute, the referee didn’t award the call. Murrell lost his temper, doing something no player should ever do: he got physical with the referee, giving him a push out of the way. He received an immediate red card for the infraction, and then sarcastically applauded the decision to give him marching orders.
To make matters worse, Murrell took his frustration out on innocent bystanders as he kicked the sideline official’s table situated between both technical areas, sending papers and debris careening through the air. As he made his way into the locker room, he shoved a security official out of the way. Suffice to say, it’s going to be a while before Murrell is back on the pitch.
According to OneSoccer analyst Kurt Larson, he’d be surprised if Murrell only recieves the Canada Soccer Association’s minimum three match suspension for violent conduct:
Canada Soccer is going to look at this. There’s going to be more than a three game suspension here. We’ve seen players in similar instances, when they’ve put their hands on referees, get five game suspensions. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that or more coming from Canada Soccer. It’s something that needs to be addressed because that’s embarrassing behavior.Kurt Larson
Given how Murrell’s behavior was downright dangerous for all involved, it seems more than likely that Canada Soccer will indeed investigate the incident. It wouldn’t be the first time the CSA has given bans after incidents in the CPL have already occurred, as it handed Kyle Bekker a multi-match ban a few weeks after the Bekker-Di Chiara incident from the league’s inaugural match.
Similarly to today’s incident, comments from the OneSoccer post-game show back then suggested that the CSA ought to take action. In agreeance with Larson’s comments, Toronto FC goalkeeping coach Jon Conway thinks that Murrell will be in for a long suspension:
Obviously this going to be considering referee assault, which has been something that the referee’s association has talked about to eliminate. In this case, even though he just pushes him a little bit, he still puts his hand on him. There’s no need for that, and the antics once you get off the field – I mean, I agree with Kurt. This should be a lengthy one. If he gets five, he’s lucky I think.Jon Conway
Murrell has played in every minute of Valour FC action so far, though that’s obviously going to change in the near future. Rob Gale will likely be lamenting Jordan’s short fuse when he sees the replay, especially when considering Murrell was brought in to be a leadership figure at the club. Valour FC is already dealing with a number of injuries, with the likes of Louis Beland-Goyette, Dylan Sacremento, and Tyson Farago currently sidelined.
The Canada Soccer Association already has on ongoing investigation regarding allegations of racism from an earlier Cavalry FC vs Forge FC match, though things have been radio silent regarding that investigation for two months now. The organization has yet to comment on today’s incident with Murrell, but it’s hard to imagine the CSA keeping the suspension to the three game minimum given everything that happened after the red card.
Murrell had collected three yellow cards throughout his time with the Winnipeg-based club, with today’s incident bringing him his first-ever red card in the Canadian Premier League.
Presumably, co-captain Skylar Thomas will take the armband for the near future, though it’ll be interesting to see if Murrell eventually gets it back when he does return to the lineup. The club’s own name by definition means courage in the face of danger, and kicking the table from a sideline official after shoving a referee doesn’t exactly exemplify the club’s values.
Rob Gale’s road trip will continue on August 10 when his side travels to York Lions Stadium to take on York9 FC. The club has only faced the Nine Stripes once before, falling 1-3 at home despite youngster Tyler Attardo scoring one of the league’s fastest goals.
What happens next is anyone’s guess: it’s clear that Murrell will be gone for some time. Whether that means the rest of the season or not remains to be seen.