Melbourne City keeper to fight 'gypsy' slur charge
FOOTBALL: Melbourne City keeper Dean Bouzanis faces a minimum five-game ban unless he can argue that his "gypsy" slur against Besart Berisha was not discriminatory or racist.
Bouzanis will appear in person at Wednesday's hearing after Football Federation Australia's Match Review Panel referred the case to the disciplinary and ethics committee.
Tim Cahill copped a one-game ban after he was sent off for "insulting or abusive" language as he was preparing to come onto the pitch in Saturday night's 2-1 Melbourne derby loss.
Bouzanis, 26, will travel to Sydney on Wednesday night to explain his war of words with the Melbourne Victory striker, who was born in Kosovo.
Fox Sports microphones picked up Bouzanis calling Berisha a "f*****g gypsy", with City issuing a public apology on Sunday.
It's understood that City officials were unhappy with the conduct of their players during a wild end to a heated derby at Etihad Stadium, which included Bouzanis making a beeline for the City bench at the final whistle.
Five other City players are already suspended for Saturday's crunch game with Brisbane Roar, with Bruno Fornaroli, Luke Brattan, Osama Malik, Fernando Brandan and Manny Muscat all picking up bookings in the heated derby.
A suspension would open the door for veteran Thomas Sorensen to return with nine rounds left, having been benched since his Round 1 red card at Wellington Phoenix.
"The MRP has determined that Bouzanis has a case to answer whether he committed the offence of "Use of discriminatory language and/or gestures, including racist, religious, ethnic or sexist" (Offence),'' the FFA statement said.
"The MRP has issued a disciplinary notice to Bouzanis and referred the incident to the disciplinary and ethics committee for hearing as to whether the Offence has been committed, and if so, what sanction should be imposed.''
Joel Griffiths, then with Sydney FC, was suspended for three games after admitting he racially abused a linesman in 2013.
"Interesting what @FFA and the MRP will do regarding Bouzanis. What's worse GYPSY or WOG?" Griffiths Tweeted on Sunday.
It's believed that FFA contacted City on Sunday to reveal that Cahill should only have been issued with a yellow card by referee Chris Beath, however there is no avenue to overturn the decision.